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VOL. V. 

VOL. I. 









S . t) avenport ■ .t> 










VOL. I. 









General Preface, embodying Remarks on the Charac- 
ter, Writings, &c, of Dr. Clarke . . xi 


I. On the Being and Attributes of God 
II. The Worship which God requires from Man 

III. The Plan of Human Redemption 

IV. God's Willingness to save all Men 
IV. The Confidence of the Genuine Christian 
VI. Experimental Religion, and its Fruits 

VII. St. Paul's Glorying ; or, the Gospel of Christ the 

Power of God unto Salvation 
VIII. The Disease and Cure of Naaman 
IX. Life, the Gift of the Gospel : the Law, the Minis^ 
tration of Death 
X. The Wisdom that is from Above 
XI. Genuine Happiness the Privilege of the Chris 
tian in this Life ... 

XII. Life, Death, and Immortality 
XIII. The Family of God and its Privileges 
XIV. The different Methods which God has used to 
bring Men to the Knowledge of Himself 
XV. The Hope of the Gospel, through the Resurrec 
tion of Christ .... 
XVI. Christian Moderation t 
XVII. On the Decalogue, or Ten Commandments 















During my long ministerial life I have written but 
very few Sermons, most of which have been already 
published ; and, for want of time and health, they have 
been permitted to get out of print. I wfehed to have 
re-published those, and to have added a few more which 
I had prepared for the press ; but the editors having 
got most of my MSS., without properly consulting me, 
announced a volume of original Sermons, for which I 
was not prepared. Many were brought to me which 
were said to have been "taken down by short-hand 
writers ;" but when I came to peruse them, I found I 
could make no kind of use of them. They were neither 
in language nor in matter anything to which I could 
creditably, or with a good conscience, set my hand. I 
afterwards understood that my enunciation, though dis- 
tinct, was too rapid to be caught by those artists, in 
consequence of which many half- sentences appeared, and 
the reasoning was marred, unconnected, unfinished, and 
indeed sometimes contradictory to itself. This was the 


case, particularly with several which had been taken 
down some years ago at the instance of some gentlemen, 
who, believing that I was near death, for I was then in 
a bad state of health, thought they could oblige the 
public, and themselves, by having my last discourses 
ready by the time I might be interred ! Their good 
intentions have been hitherto frustrated — and I think it 
was well for all concerned, and who might have been 
concerned, that such odds and ends never appeared ; and 
this imperfect taking down was nearly the same in all ; 
for, let the artists be whom they might, I- found, on 
examining the fruits of their labours, that they had to a 
man given me a strange language, worse by many de- 
grees than my own ; that they had often perverted my 
sense, misrepresented my criticisms, and confounded my 

Should any Discourses be offered to the Public, said 
to have been preached by me, that have not been re- 
written by myself, and published or left with my sig- 
nature to be published, should my executors think 
proper, I here certify that they are none of mine. 

Several of the Discourses in the present Volume are 
little else than sketches — some others are not sufficiently 
expanded ; but of the whole, I hope, the least that can 
be said is, that they contain nothing but the truth, though 
they may not have embraced the whole truth. 

Those who know me, and it is not likely that many 
others will read this volume, will not be surprised to 
find that I show no indifference to that religious Creed 
which I have long professed, and which I have, with 
much pains and conscientious assiduity, collected from 
the oracles of God. The doctrines it contains have been 


my support and comfort for half a century ; and I believe 
they will continue to be so till mortality is swallowed up 
of life. 

As I believe that just notions of God are the foun- 
dation of true religion and of all rational worship, I 
have endeavoured to introduce such in the discourses on 
the " Being and Attributes of God." Some think it is 
always best to leave such difficult and sublime subjects 
untouched. I am not of this mind, and I am sorry that 
this notion has prevailed so much ; through it many are 
weak, and all easily stumbled, that have got under its 
influence. What can we rationally believe, and how 
can we worship, if we have not tolerably cor rectnotions 
of Him in whom we live and move, and from whom we 
have our being? If spared, I may resume even this 
subject, and endeavour to calculate with greater accu- 
racy several matters that might be considered in exacter 

Some of the discourses on this subject may be thought 
to be too scientific, or that they affect to be such. I can 
say, I affect nothing, and I have inserted nothing, even 
in the sermon on Jer. x. 11, where so much is said on 
the celestial bodies, which I do not think fairly deducible 
from the text, and which I believe to be well calculated 
to prove and illustrate the truth of the prophet's asser- 
tion. I wish I had a little more time and health to 
have re-written them all, and to have filled up those 
which exist merely in outline. 

As far as I have proceeded, I have aimed in all to 
exhibit the most momentous truths of divine revelation ; 
and as far as I could, the deepest working of the Divine 
Spirit on the soul of man. 

After all, it is with great diffidence that I permit this 


volume to appear in public. I know it is easy to find 
faults, and it may be peculiarly so to find them here ; 
yet I hope that these well-meant discourses will be well 
received by all the people of God ; and I trust the God 
of that people will grant them his blessing. 

A. C. 

Heydon Hall, Middlesex, May, 12, 1828. 



Exclusive of mere outlines, there will be found nearly 
thirty sermons more in this department of the series of 
Dr. Clarke's Miscellaneous Works, than in any previous 
edition ; and most of them, though bearing the superscrip- 
tion and strongly impressed intellectual image of their 
author, sustaining a peculiar and distinctive character of 
their own. The truth is, in one class of sermons the ex- 
cellent author is seated in his study ; in another, he is found 
occupying the pulpit; and it is only in the latter that a 
person, who never had the privilege of hearing him, can 
come at his real character as an apostle of God, or satis- 
factorily discriminate between the student and the preacher. 
This was a point which, during life, his stated hearers could 
easily decide, by comparing his printed with his oral dis- 
courses ; and this will account sufficiently for any either real 
or apparent inequality between some of the earlier and some 
of the later discourses in these volumes ; the former having 
been expressly prepared for the press, and the latter being 
intended simply for present use and a limited circle, as food 
for the affections and intelligences of his auditory. When 
he wrote, he wrote not only for the generation moving 
around him, but for posterity. When he preached, he 
assumed more of the character of a person standing by the 
highway, who, on seeing the multitudes pass along, many 
of whom he might never see again, was anxious to give 
them a word of wholesome advice, to aid them during the 


remainder of their journey. Hence, in the one case, fewer 
appeals to classical authority, less pains-taking, less for- 
mality, and more frequent addresses to the hearer ; in the 
other, direct addresses to the reader, accompanied frequently 
with those quotations, with those references, and with that 
kind of matter, which is more adapted to the retirement of 
the closet, and for research, than for the momentary pause 
of a hearer from the bustle of life, — never forgetting, in 
either instance, the holy and the useful. He was so com- 
pletely transformed from the student into the preacher, that 
he seemed to combine two persons in one, leaving the one 
in the study, and bringing the other into the house of God, 
full of holy fervour, simplicity, and heavenly wisdom. In 
this consisted the charm of his ministry as a learned man, 
and in this was to be found the advantage of his hearers. 

From the forty-sixth sermon and onward, Dr. Clarke may 
be generally calculated upon as in the pulpit, among his 
people ; and though each sermon is not to be considered as 
comprising the whole of what was delivered on the occa- 
sion, yet the substance is there, in the particular train of 
thought pursued, and language employed. 

Though he had a plan in the pulpit, and that plan was 
perceptible, in most instances, to the more intelligent part 
of his hearers, it was rarely ever announced with the for- 
mality of a division and sub-division ; and never with the 
jingle and parade which distinguish many modern pulpit 
discourses. The plan was unfolded by degrees, in the ex- 
ecution of the several parts. The whole was loose, free, 
easy^ and yet not careless ; all being poured forth like one 
unbroken stream, with here and there a powerful rush, 
setting all around on the move ; deep, yet simple as the ele- 
ment itself, clear and refreshing, and without any apparent 
effort. In cases where order was the least perceptible, the 
fine flow of thought and of feeling in which he indulged, 
was invariably taking within its vast and sweeping motion, 
whatever of the useful came in its way on its route to 
the ocean of eternity, whither he was always, after due 
preparation here, conducting his hearers. Numerous as 


might be the windings of an argument through which he 
conducted his auditors, it was still, like the same stream, 
working out its own natural bed amidst the mountains and 
over the plains, coming, as it were, from the heights of the 
understanding, and finally settling down into the heart, in 
fixed and steady purpose. To one plan he never could be 
confined, and was disposed to ridicule the system of "button 
making," as the great Robert Hall denominated the modern 
manufacture of a sermon ; and which the doctor himself, in 
his "Letter to a Preacher," notices in the expressive but 
sarcastic language of " three heads and a conclusion." He 
generally pursued the track which the subject seemed to 
suggest, or to require ; and, loose as it occasionally might 
appear, it was the looseness of exuberance, — a rich tree, un- 
trained to the wall, with its branches gracefully bending 
with fruit, instead of running along, at the bidding of the 
gardener, in straight horizontal lines; the negligence, in 
short, of ease and of wealth. There was nothing to remind 
the hearer of a person deformed in his shape, or stunted in 
his growth, being indebted to mere show or appearance, to 
exhibit himself to the best advantage ; nothing like a neat 
outline without filling, — a mere skeleton in the case of a 
surgeon, to look at, without either substance to make it 
comely, or life to give it feeling and motion ; the man, the 
entire man was there, both in feeling and in intellect. 

With his plan, he was still the pure child of nature, 
ranging at liberty ; hence, he was not only discursive, but 
occasionally excursive : but then his excursions as a preacher 
of the gospel were, in theology, what those of Wordsworth's 
are in poetry, in his poem under that title ; they were 
always in place, always in keeping with the subject, and 
left a charm which would have led to a regret of their 
omission, in a rehearsal of their companion thoughts. He had 
too much good sense, and too little self-denial, not to give 
utterance to a useful thought that might cross his way, and 
which was calculated to tell at the time, because of its adap- 
tation to another place, another page, or another occasion. 
And although this might be sometimes found in alliance with 


the momentary indulgence of imagination, it was still found 
associated with truth and with fact, and sustained the cha- 
racter of a delightful ramble from the beaten track. Not a 
little of this is to be perceived in the sermon entitled, " The 
High Commission." The fact is, he never fixed his mind 
exclusively upon his text ; and so, like the fly, confined to 
the spot on which it alights, and with limited vision, seemed 
capable only of taking in one object at a time, and that 
object immediately before him ; nor did he, though neither 
text nor context were disregarded, confine himself to the 
connecting passages ; sufficient attention was paid, if not 
ample justice done, to both ; the whole Bible was his book, 
and the mind of God in that book, from beginning to end, in 
reference to man, was one, as to the restoration of man to the 
divine image. He often took up some broad, general truths, 
and showed the bearing of one part of God's word and God's 
economy of grace upon another, and the relation of each 
part to the whole ; the one answering the other like an echo, 
only less powerful, because more distant ; and then, after 
having ranged, like the bird of the sun, along the broad 
expanse of heaven, he would have dropped down upon the 
text, like the same bird upon its food, — would have dissected 
it with the finest discrimination, and have handed round 
suitable portions to the varied characters and conditions of 
his hearers ; and all, with a freedom and grace not to be 
found in any of his writings, except in some letters on re- 
ligious subjects written in early life to his Mary. 

His plan was mostly expository ; and this, of all others, 
without great care and great labour, will lead to a certain stiff- 
ness and abruptness in manner. But though Dr. Clarke was 
in an eminent degree an expounder of God's word, he was, 
as just stated, at the most remote distance from anything like 
inflexibility in the pulpit. With great compass and reach of 
mind, enlarging and bringing remote objects near, like the 
instruments adapted to the solar system, there was never- 
theless very often a great deal of closely- webbed and micro- 
scopic thought, — a great deal of minute criticism, one 
thought very often thrown back upon another, each depen- 


dant upon the other, and the whole brought up again with 
the combined effect of a piece of beautiful mechanism to 
the eye, — though still the mechanism of nature rather than 
of art, after the audience had been let into the secret of its 
several parts. Not a word of importance escaped notice, 
or was permitted to pass without explanation ; instances of 
which may be seen in the sermon on "Life, the Gift of the 
Gospel ; the Law, the Ministration of Death," &c. ; and 
yet, as will be perceived there, without the hesitancy, dry- 
ness, and balancing mood of a lexicographer, preparing a 
work for the press. He spoke from his general knowledge, 
as well as from a knowledge of 'the original of the particular 
text under discussion ; and while the one aided him in the 
different shades of meaning attached to the same word in 
different connexions, the other, like a fountain, was con- 
stantly welling forth of its abundance, refreshing and en- 
riching the vineyard of the Lord. His biblical knowledge, 
his oriental researches, and his skill in criticism, were always 
apparent, but so sanctified by piety, and so unostentatiously 
employed in the house of God, that his more acquired 
accomplishments appeared natural, — so natural indeed, as 
to resemble shoots from a parent stock, rich in native fruit. 

In his regular preaching, as in the sermons presented to 
the public, several of the same truths would occasionally 
turn up in his remarks on different texts. But as he was 
not in the habit of hackneying the same text from place to 
place, and had no fixed spot on paper for certain views, by 
writing upon every passage on which he preached, it was 
impossible, in every instance, to recollect what had been 
advanced; and hence, truths which had taken up their 
abode in the mind, rather than their residence upon paper, 
would have issued forth, not at stated seasons, but casually ; 
or like a person from his dwelling, as occasion required. 
There were great leading truths which occupied his mind, 
and which run through the Bible, linking themselves to the 
present and eternal destinies of man ; and some of these were 
employed as servants of all-work, because of their adapta- 
tion to sacred purposes. But even these were varied in 


expression ; and not only so, but, like so many orbs revolv- 
ing 1 on their axes, were presenting the auditory with new 
views, — new, as occasioned by the unusual shinings forth 
of his own mind, and the more than ordinary influence of 
the Spirit of God at the time ; as well as new in their 
use to the hearers, and in their application to other sub- 
jects ; and perfectly aware of repetition, a reference in some 
instances is made to preceding observations, and reasons 
assigned for still further discussion and investigation. This, 
however, instead of palling, is a refreshment to the memory ; 
and an old thought, brought to a new text, brings with it so 
many new companions, that, like an old friend, it is wel- 
comed the more on account of its associates, — never failing 
to yield variety and life to the whole. Even in cases where 
a quotation is repeated, on the same subject from the same 
author, as the one from Shakspeare, in the sermon on " The 
Decalogue," and in that on the " Two Important Questions," 
the accompanying remarks, though referring to the same 
topic, differ in their general complexion. 

When Dr. Clarke did preach more than once on the same 
text, as John iii. 16, and Matt. vi. 33, 34, instances of which 
will be found in the sermons on " The Love of God to a 
Lost World," and on " The Doctrine of Providence," he 
never pursued the same path ; but, though going to the 
same place, took his hearers to it by a different line of road. 
Part of the secret of this has been explained, in what has 
been stated on his rarely writing in the way of preparation 
for the pulpit ; and a further explanation will be found in 
the length of time which must necessarily have elapsed 
before he came round to the same text, in the regular course 
of his reading, to which reading there is a reference in the 
sermon on " The Christian Race." He had a large oblong 
volume, called his text book, in which there were divisions 
for dates, the lessons for the day, together with book, chap- 
ter, and verse. Each chapter, having been previously ex- 
amined, had the verse or verses distinctly marked, which 
offered themselves as candidates to his notice as texts. 
This plan cost him a great deal of labour and close attention ; 


but when completed, as he informed the writer, it amply re- 
warded him ; for by adopting it, he was never without a text 
on any day during the year ; while his general knowledge of 
the sacred writings, and an application of the mind : to the 
selected passage, soon furnished him with a sermon, or such a 
portion of instruction or spiritual food, as was calculated to 
feed the flock of God. Such a plan secures something in 
the shape of certainty to the preacher. A minister may be 
placed in circumstances in which he may find himself at a 
loss for a text ; and when the mind is left at large, with the 
fingers turning over the sacred pages, it is like a vessel at 
sea, with the pilot undetermined, nor even knowing by 
what point of the compass to steer. But on adverting — 
say to the three chapters for the day, which, by doubling a 
few of the shorter, will take a person through the Bible in 
the course of a year ; and whence from one to sometimes eight 
or ten texts have been already selected, all of which have 
previously impressed the mind as capable, through reflec- 
tions arising out of them, together with their connexions, of 
furnishing a sufficient quantum of suitable instruction for a 
service, it will rarely be the case, that one or other of such 
chosen portions of truth will not fasten upon the mind, and 
the mind upon them, resting like a bark, easy and at anchor. 
Something in the shape of variety, too, is secured to the 
people. As there will generally be found a greater number of 
texts than can be preached on in the course of the same day, 
as there is not divine service every day, and as the calendar 
of the year is shifting from the same day of the week, there 
will be an almost constant change : years will roll on before 
the whole of the texts can be discussed ; passages omitted 
on the non-preaching days at one period, will (and especially 
in the constant whirl of an itinerant ministry) occupy a 
place in another. Hence, another advantage : it conducts a 
preacher of the gospel, like a commentator, through the 
whole Bible, and thus familiarizes the mind, not only with 
the sacred text, but with the labours of the best biblical 
scholars. There is one objection to the plan ; it may give 
rise to a desultory mode of preaching, and the people will, 


in consequence, be in danger of being presented with un- 
digested matter. This will depend a good deal on the 
mind that is brought to work it, and the matter with which 
that mind is furnished. A novitiate could not be expected 
to be fully prepared for it, though he might in the course 
of time grow into it; and the mere memoriter preacher 
would be as deficient in daring as the other would be 
defective in materials. Still, the plan has numerous and 
important advantages, and was peculiarly adapted to the 
genius that struck it out. Dr. Clarke, favoured with ready 
utterance and an extensive vocabulary, both in his own 
tongue and that of others, and a mind stored withal with 
biblical and general knowledge, could have strewed — if not 
flowers, a goodly portion of fruit, along any path in which 
he was disposed to walk. His internal resources are espe- 
cially visible in the thirty-second sermon of this collection, 
on " Divine Revelation," in a " Postscript " to which, he 
states to his readers, that he had " no authorities at hand " 
on its delivery, and had " consulted none " on committing 
it to paper and to the press ; and yet there — in the Zetland 
Isles, remote from his literary work-shop, his study and 
his library — there he is seen moving, and is read by the 
islanders, like a portable Cyclopedia. 

As he never wrote an entire sermon with a view to deliver 
it, so, when he did write, which was extremely rare, it was 
little more than a mere outline. When he had preached on 
a text, and found unusual enlargement in the delivery, he was 
then induced sometimes to commit it to paper. And such 
was the case with some of the more elaborate discourses 
now presented to the public. He did not carry his sermon 
as a whole from the study to the pulpit, but often, in the re- 
verse way, brought his sermon out of the pulpit into the study. 
This is by no means to be understood as insinuating a want of 
preparation; but only so far as previous preparation proceeded, 
the mind was much more concerned than the pen — more at- 
tention was paid to thoughts than to words. He helped himself 
in his study, but still left a vacancy for God to work in, while 
in the pulpit ; and when assisted in an extraordinary manner 


there, he returned with the holy suggestions as so many 
valuable appendages, or more properly treasures, and added 
to his own what God had thus given him in the exercise of 
his sacred office. 

It was subsequent to the labour of the pulpit, too, when 
induced to write at length, that he strengthened his various 
positions, occasionally entered upon a new plot of ground, 
on which time, place, occasion, or people, would not allow 
him to point a foot, and appealed to the chapter and verse 
of his authorities. Had his regular pulpit addresses pos- 
sessed the same literary character, and been adorned with 
the philosophy of some of his written discourses, he would 
not only have manifested a want of judgment, but in that 
want would have deviated from the path of usefulness, as the 
minister of a plain and unlettered people. But he stooped 
from his heights, in his ordinary sermons some of which, as has 
been already intimated, are to be found towards the close of 
the collection, in order to accommodate himself to his hearers. 
The sermon " On the Being and Attributes of God," which 
commences the collection, and the same "Being and Attri- 
butes" as exhibited in other sermons, rarely ever embraced a 
discourse in the pulpit, except once, before a Sheffield con- 
ference, at the request of the president ; and even then, or 
on other occasions, the planetary system, as sometimes 
exhibited, never entered the chapel. The sermon on " The 
Plan of Human Redemption " had been taken to the pulpit, 
and back from the pulpit to the study, as already described, 
and finally sent to the press. The text, however, turned up 
again in the course of Scripture reading, and the venerable 
preacher was induced to take it at Whitby, when there, in 
connexion with his second voyage to the Zetland Isles, in 
which the writer accompanied him ; but though only a few 
months after the original had been put into the hands of the 
printer, it was, though in the leading points the same, per- 
fectly dissimilar from the one in print, and more generally 
adapted to the capacities and state of Christians in humble 
life, who have little time for reading, and are anxious 
chiefly for the every-day bread which cometh down from 


heaven ; the preacher, apparently, withholding 1 more erudite 
matter, and filling up, though in perfect harmony with his 
subject, with such remarks as were on a level with the 
thinkings of the lowest of his congregation. 

The practice of enlarging in the laboratory, on his retire- 
ment from the pulpit, will also account for the unusual 
length of some of the sermons, as those "On the Decalogue, 
or Ten Commandments," "The Lord's Prayer," "The 
Nature and Design of the Holy Eucharist," &c, &c. He 
was rarely long, and never tedious. This after-work is 
referred to by himself in the Advertisement to his sermon 
on " Christ crucified :" "The substance of the following 
discourse," he remarks, " was preached at the opening of a 
chapel in the country, in the year 1825. Not only the sub- 
Stance but the plan is the same ; but several of the points 
are considerably expanded, as I wished to speak more in 
detail on subjects of a nature entirely analogous to those in 
the text, and which I could not well introduce in an occa- 
sional sermon." 

Two or three things may appear in the course of perusal, 
to the reader of taste and judgment, as defects ; and did 
they apply generally, they might be estimated as such. 
Hence, in the second sermon on " The Love of God to a 
Lost World," and in that on " The Gift of a Saviour," the 
expressions, "wire-drawing," "cart-rope drawing," and " the 
world together by the ears," may be interpreted into a 
want of taste in the preacher ; but those sermons were 
written simply as delivered, without any view to publication, 
and are given by a friend merely as specimens of ordinary 
addresses, when pastor and people were at home with each 
other, and on more than usual terms of familiar endearment ; 
nor does the speaker forget, in the latter instance, what 
he owes to his hearers, in the apology he makes. His good 
taste is discernible in the sermon on " The Disease and 
Cure of Naaman," where it prevents him from entering into 
the forbidding details of the leprosy so fully as he other- 
wise might have done. In the same sermon, it might be 
inferred, that he was in the occasional habit of indulging in 


the playful. But the repetition of the " Abana and Phar- 
par men," which actually palls through indulgence, and the 
wish to fix a blur, by the apparent desire of giving currency 
to a new coinage, enters into no part of the general standard 
of apostolic dignity, which Dr. Clarke fixed for himself in 
public, and which he almost as uniformly observed. The 
same may be said with regard to the pleasant manner in 
which he treats the alchymists, in the discourse on " Death 
Unavoidable," and the seeming desire to give rise to another 
title, the "Sign -seekers," to designate another class of people, 
in the sermon on " Christ Crucified, a Stumbling-block to the 
Jews, and Foolishness to the Greeks." Nor is it to be sup- 
posed, though well able to deal in it, that he indulged in the 
sarcastic, which is apparent in the discourse on "Peter's 
Character of the Dispersed among the Gentiles," where he 
speaks of persecution being condemned by all, except 
the Holy Eoman Catholic Church, and where he alludes 
to the titles and humility of the pope, so directly at va- 
riance with each other ; or fthat, as in the same sermon, 
in the use he makes of the arithmetical mode of multi- 
plying blessings, in the way in which a schoolboy attends 
to numbers, he ever indulged, in what may be denominated 
ingenious trifling. It was one of his fixed principles, 
that every particle of useful knowledge should, by a Chris- 
tian minister, when at all within the rules of propriety, be 
brought to bear upon his pulpit labours, for the benefit 
of his hearers, in the elucidation and enforcement of scrip- 
tural truth. And even in the latter instance, he was teach- 
ing his auditors, like pupils, to learn from everything. 
For this, he has an example in one of the creations of one 
of the noblest poets, whose character is said to have 

" Found tongues in trees, books in running brooks, 
Sermons in stones, and good in everything." _ 

To persons familiar with Dr. Clarke's Commentary on the 
Scriptures, it will be perceived that he never hesitates to 
quote from himself. But as there is often the honesty of ac- 
knowledgment, as every man has a right to eat the fruit of 


his own labours, and as it is not to be supposed that a man 
who had carefully examined the meaning of every passage, 
was likely to have conflicting views on the same subject, it 
is only what may be expected, that the same definitions 
will often occur, while the reader is amply remunerated 
in these, by the preacher expatiating at large on each sepa- 
rate topic. 

As to the arrangement of the sermons in this collection, 
there has been no attention paid to chronological order ; 
and as little, with the exception of a few of the earlier, to 
subject. Variety, rather than order, has been consulted; 
and hence, in the case of dates, the reader is taken back 
occasionally, instead of forward, to particular periods. 

Not, however, to dwell longer on the sermons thus pre- 
sented to the public, their distinctive character and peculi- 
arities, together with the piety and mind observable in them, it 
may not be altogether out of place to turn more fully from 
them to the man. He has already been seen in his intellectual 
character, in connexion with these compositions ; but he 
does not yet stand out sufficiently in bold relief to the eye ; 
and though what may be further advanced may bear upon 
what has been stated, it will still only be in the way of 
additional evidence to support the same facts and positions. 
And here the writer may be permitted to draw upon him- 
self, in mingling with the present, some remarks which he 
offered in a funeral sermon which he preached on the death 
of Dr. Clarke. 

On any one throwing the mind back on the first sixteen 
years of the life of " little Adam Clarke," as he was then 
designated, who is at all acquainted with it, he will soon find, 
by selecting a few incidents, that, when concentrated in him, 
they form so many scattered rays of light brought into a 
focus, all contributing either less or more to point him out 
as a luminary emerging from obscurity, and destined for 
something beyond a dimly-discerned satellite — destined^ to 
shine beautifully bright with other stars, either singly or 
amid that galaxy, streaming with light along the sky, and 
which contributes to the splendour of the midnigrht heavens. 


There was scarcely anything ordinary in his movements, in 
ordinary cases and circumstances. His parents, though 
dignified in ancestry, and respectably connected with the 
living, were in a comparatively humble situation in life, in 
consequence of which he laboured under many disad- 
vantages. They, nevertheless, directed their attention to the 
cultivation of his mind and of his morals, the father severely 
intent upon the improvement of the former, and the mother 
sedulously engaged in grounding and perfecting the latter. 
But however well qualified for their separate tasks, they 
found, that while their tyro manifested good moral feeling, 
and amazing precocity for other things, he evinced, till 
some time after other children have made considerable pro- 
gress in letters and figures, an utter inaptitude to take in 
the commonest elementary principles of an initiatory edu- 
cation. All of a sudden, a change took place, when about 
seven or eight years of age — a change somewhat analogous 
in letters to that which is styled " a new creation " in re- 
ligion, after which he strided along the path of knowledge, 
like Asahel over the plains and mountains of Judea, who 
" was as light of foot as a wild roe." When traced through 
the several gradations of childhood, boyhood, and youth, 
till entered into his teens, several unobtrusive intimations 
will be found of something extraordinary in character. He 
was inured to hardness, so as to become almost impervious 
to cold ; — industry and early rising settled down into the 
fixed form of a habit ; — amusement was generally indulged 
only so far as it connected itself with the harmless in 
juvenile pastimes ; — he had a nature possessed of exquisite 
tenderness and sensibility, and though liberal in the extreme, 
was so much the economist as to sigh and mourn over need- 
less indulgence in his parents ; — blessed with tolerable regu- 
larity of conduct, and a regard for the ordinances of 
religion, he preserved a rigid attention to moral, while 
ignorant of evangelical truth ; — favoured with a buoyancy of 
spirit that might have proved fatal to others, he was pre- 
served in the midst of its indulgence from incessant intoxi- 
cation at the fountain of human delight ; — an insatiate thirst 


after knowledge was ever perceived by those around, often 
seeking to satisfy himself in the profound and mysterious, 
being especially inquisitive respecting everything that 
seemed to link itself to the invisible world and the soul of 
man, subjecting himself to pain, and fear, and inconveni- 
ence in its acquisition ; — a taste for the Greek and Latin 
classics was acquired ; — judgment commenced its decisions 
in passing sentence upon, and in attempting to improve the 
literary defects of others ; — improvements were grafted on 
experience with the wisdom of age ; — a memory was dis- 
cernible which, when he had stooped to pick up the smallest 
particle of an incident, a conversation, or a passing event, 
could bear about the whole through every changing scene 
of life ; — early prejudices were seen to strike their roots, 
which were afterwards found to be not only serviceable to 
himself, but to constitute some of the peculiarities and ex- 
cellences of his manhood ; — a partiality for the antique 
was visible at a period when a love of novelty is the pre- 
dominant passion ; — books were prized above rubies ; — not 
satisfied with philosophizing on natural objects beneath his 
feet, he elevated his eye to heaven and was enamoured with 
the pure azure and the host of stars over his head ; — and all 
this before he escaped from youth, and before his conversion 
to God! Here were stirring some of the elements, the 
peculiarities, and characteristics of genius; and there is 
scarcely anything allied to the useful, the excellent, and 
the good in the great man, in which he did not excel. As 
the sapling oak virtually possesses the trunk, the foliage, 
and the acorn-fruit of the old tree, towards which it is 
perpetually growing and putting iforth its strength, and at 
which, if its vegetable life is spared, it will actually arrive ; 
so, Adam the younger bid fair to be all that was actually 
beheld and admired in Adam the elder, being the subject 
of a special providence, as if spared for important public 
purposes, in the accomplishment of which he was to flourish 
and tower above many of his fellows. 

Passing on to his conversion to God while yet a youth, 
his call to the ministry, and the fruit and extent of his 


labours as a public teacher, to the latter of which some 
slight allusion has been made, and there — what is beheld ? 
In an agony, on account of sin, as if hell had rid itself of part 
of its misery, and poured like a deluge its fiery stream into 
his soul, he went to his Maker in prayer, fixed, in the open 
fields near Coleraine, in Ireland, his steadfast eye of faith 
upon Him who was crucified, and upon whose head it was 
afterwards his ambition to place the diadem, when, sudden 
as light from heaven, mercy, flashing from the throne of 
God, fell upon his spirit, with evidence clear, irresistible, 
and unspeakably joyous. From that moment he rose a 
renovated being, and others, seeing the grace of God in him, 
were glad. He then appeared no longer a distinct being, 
localized to one place, but seemed to have multiplied into 
so many different persons, diffusing himself in his labours 
over a wide tract of country, where, from the frequency of 
his visits, and the productiveness of his public addresses, he 
produced the effect of possessing all, while all in their turn 
seemed to be in the constant enjoyment of himself. Like 
Timothy, he not only knew the Scriptures, but expounded 
them, if not in the letter, at least in the spirit. A light 
like this was never intended to be placed under a bushel ; 
a city like this never to be erected anywhere but on a hill. 
The venerable Wesley, like Paul the aged, heard of this 
youthful Timothy, laid his hand upon him, and sent him 
unfettered into the vineyard, where he toiled, and suffered, 
and attended to the culture of the branches of the True 
Vine. Home was too confined a sphere of labour ; he 
visited England, and England being too circumscribed, he 
visited " the islands of the sea." His missionary zeal con- 
tinued to burn, and at an age when first fires are often 
extinguished in others, he went forth with his life in his 
hands, to brave the tempests that rave around Thule's 
barren islands, to look, to think, to speak, to act for himself, 
— to satisfy himself of the genuineness of the work, — to bear 
up the hands of those whom he had been the instrument of 
sending out and supporting, among the northern breakers ; 
and thus showing them, that he would not place them in a 



situation of peril, from which he himself would for a mo- 
ment even seem to shrink. 

Thrice elevated to the highest official dignity Wesleyan 
Methodism had to confer, he stood at his death in this re- 
spect without a compeer. He was one of those instances 
of a person who, never seeking for honour, was closely pur- 
sued by it; and there is this peculiarity in honour, that 
when pursued for her own sake, she is so coy as to flee, 
and so swift of foot as never to be overtaken ; while, ori the 
other hand, those who endeavour to evade her, are sure to 
be followed by her, as she is ever to belfound in the wake of 
unassuming merit. Envy, in his case, might have laboured 
in vain in the work of detraction ; for whatever degree of 
influence she might have exercised on her own baneful few, 
he still remained the child of the public — a public ever 
zealous in promoting the honours of its children, and 
equally jealous lest any should pluck them out of its hand. 
Congregations were obtained which few other men could 
command, collections were secured which no other man 
could raise. These are facts, and eulogistic as may be the 
strain of them, founded on statements which have been 
publicly made, the statements themselves only constituting 
a tithe of what might be adduced in support of the re- 
spective subjects; and the unbought, unbiassed, and un- 
sophisticated testimony of the multitude has only to be 
asked, in order to be granted, in attestation of their truth. 
Leaving, however, more general ground, and fixing atten- 
tion, just like the eye on a piece of Grecian sculpture, re- 
dolent of everything but life, upon what more immediately 
constitutes form and character, a more correct estimate 
may be formed of the man, by entering a little into detail. 

Dr. Clarke's figure, which was rather tall, and towards 
the close of life, a little inclined to corpulency ; his ruddy 
complexion, in beautiful contrast with his silver locks, which 
were thrown back, and gave additional openness to his 
countenance ; his dignified, apostolical appearance, and his 
firm step, are neither suitable for the present occasion, as 
subjects for amplification, nor yet necessary for the public 


to be told, before whom he has so recently walked as a 
messenger of the churches. 

As a preacher, his action was far from varied, and not, 
perhaps, in every instance, graceful to fastidious taste ; but it 
was rarely ever otherwise than chaste, andalways appropriate 
His voice, though not round and melodious, was strong and 
clear, and though unable at all times to manage its tones, 
which rendered it in the more logical parts of his discourse, a 
little monotonous, yet when the argument was brought to a 
close, and the people were wound up to conviction by it, there 
were outbreakings in the voice, as well as outpourings among 
the people, rarely heard and rarely witnessed, except from 
himself, and under his own ministry. It was like the wand 
of Moses smiting the rock ; the heart was touched, and the 
eyes were instantly suffused with tears ; or like the chil- 
dren of Israel, when, as with one voice, they exclaimed, 
" The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we 
obey." One instance, among many, the writer will never 
forget. The doctor was preaching on the occasion of open- 
ing a new chapel. His text led him to dwell on the love of 
God to man — his favourite theme. After having established 
the doctrine of universal redemption by a process of rea- 
soning equally original, powerful, and conclusive, and the 
hearers had apparently brought their hearts and their under- 
standings to the subject — feeling and perceiving more and 
more the possibility, the certainty of present, personal sal- 
vation, he gave a sweep to his arm, ' drawing it towards 
himself, and grasping his hand as though he had collected 
in it several objects of value, and then throwing them, like 
alms, in the full bounty of his soul among the people — 
" Here," he exclaimed at the close, in a strain of impas- 
sioned feeling, and with one of those sudden and peculiar 
elevations of voice for which he was remarkable, frequently 
melting the whole congregation to tears — " Here," said he, 
" take the arguments among you — make the best of them 
for your salvation — I will vouch for their validity — I will 
stake my credit for intellect upon them : yes, if it wer» 
possible to collect them into one, and suspend them as you 

6 2 


would suspend a weight on a single hair of this grey head 
(elevating his hand and pointing to his locks the while) ; 
that very hair would be found to be so firmly fastened to 
the throne of the all-merciful God, that all the devils in hell 
and all the sophistry of the world might be defied to cut it 
in two." It is an expression, the force of which can only 
be felt by those who are in possession of the previous rea- 
soning — reasoning like that employed in his sermon on 
" The Love of God to a Lost World," and to the truth of 
which there was a sudden burst of responsive triumph from 
the lips of the auditory, similar to a burst of applause in a 
political assembly; applause, however, which was re- 
strained within due bounds, because of the sanctity of the 
place, and the hallowed influence which accompanied the 

Persons who knew him not, might say, he never rose to 
eloquence; that imagination was dead within him — that 
his manner was dry and scholastic — and that his sermons, 
though argumentative, logical, and acute, and therefore 
chiefly addressed to the judgment, were calculated to please 
only the scholar and the mathematician, but not to interest 
the majority of mankind ; persons, it is repeated, who knew 
him not, might talk and write thus. But he had something 
more than imagination — and of that he had more than he 
dared to indulge ; he had energies allied to real genius, if 
genius be what a writer states it is, " strong feeling and 
judgment," or in two words, " impassioned wisdom." He 
blended, too, with the wisdom of Solomon, the simplicity of 
a child. Confessed as it has been, that he was always at 
home when combatting the subtle objections of infidelity — 
establishing the truth of Christianity — demonstrating the 
immateriality of the human soul, and expounding the Scrip- 
tures ; yet it ought not to be forgotten, that he was equally 
happy when soaring to the heights, or diving into the pro- 
founder depths of Christian experience ; accommodating 
himself equally— as will be perceived in his sermons — to the 
babe, to the young man, and to the father in Christ. Though 
he exercised the talents of a master in the field of legitimate 


argument, and wielded with mighty energy the weapons of 
truth, he never failed, while taking with him the head of 
the scholar, to take also along with him the heart of the 
humble, uneducated Christian. The Bible appeared like a 
new book in his hands ; the Divine Being seemed to give 
him a key, and to let him further into its meaning — to give 
him a clearer and fuller insight into it than most other 
men. Not only does his Commentary, but all his pulpit 
expositions bear a stamp of their own. While some minis- 
ters enter their studies, commence with a text that seems 
to impress them, examine it on every side, load it with a 
number of parallel passages, bring every other text and 
subject to bear upon it, till there is nothing more to be said 
upon it by themselves, or left to be said by others ; and 
then, without the loss of a thought or expression pre- 
viously brought together, by intense application in the 
closet, deliver the whole in set form to the congregation ; 
the doctor, as will have been perceived by preceding re- 
marks, pursued a plan perfectly dissimilar. Though never 
loose and declamatory, still there was thought without its 
apparent labour. The whole had the breath of a morning 
in May, rather than the staleness of materials that had lost 
their flavour and sweetness by long and constant use. His 
mind was like an immense mine, as well — as has been 
intimated, as an ever and an overflowing stream ; he seemed 
to have read all, to have known all ; and from the inex- 
haustible treasures within, was perpetually giving forth 
from his fulness. Still, to change the metaphor, it was not a 
mere forest of thought, tedious and oppressive to the hearer 
from the multiplicity apparent, always saying every-thing 
that could be said, instead of what should be said : he never 
appeared to exhaust a subject, but when he had preached 
one hour, seemed as though he could preach another, 
leaving his hearers always desirous of more, and wondering 
that he should finish so soon, as well as himself latitude to 
descant on the same text, with equal richness and variety, 
at another period. 

Many men are to be found with more elegantly formed 


minds than Dr. Clarke, but with that elegance, at an im- 
measurable distance from him in learning and critical 
acumen. Persons are to be found too, with finer voices, 
and -who have cultivated the art of public speaking, with 
all its prettinesses, much his superior ; but without a ray 
of his genius ; without any of his depth, compass, origin- 
ality, or wealth of thought. His mind — though in the 
strictest sense of the term, not an elegant one, was suffi- 
ciently elegant to preserve him from offending ; his voice 
sufficiently tuned to please; his speaking sufficiently en- 
gaging to attract ; and his diction, though remote from the 
ornate, partly through choice, has generally .had the cha- 
racter of being remarkable for its simplicity, its purity, its 
strength, and its perspicuity. Except in his younger days, 
he never appears to have paused to turn a period. Profound 
and elevated as were his thoughts very often, he was never 
" hard to be understood." One of the finest compliments 
ever paid to a great man was unintentionally paid to him 
by a poor woman in the Zetland Isles. The aged matron 
referred to, had, with others, heard of his celebrity, and 
went to hear him preach at Lerwick. On her return home, 
she remarked with great simplicity, "They say that Dr. 
Clarke is a learned man, and I expected to find him such ; 
but he is only like another man, for I could understand 
every word he said." This is too plain to require comment ; 
and if learning and obscurity are synonymous with the 
vulgar, Dr. Clarke was a happy exception. 

His memory, already alluded to, was more than ordinarily 
strong; and it was accurate as it was capacious. He 
seemed to be a complete walking library; capable on the 
shortest notice, figuratively speaking, of stepping up and 
taking down from the shelves of the library of his own 
mind, volume after volume, and of dealing out at length 
on almost any topic connected with English or foreign 
literature. The very first letter he ever received from the 
divine founder of Methodism, had this sentence in it: 
" Never forget anything you have learned." The propriety 
of the advice can only be seen in connexion with the fact 


that he had, being young, been endeavouring, as far as such 
a thing is possible, to forget, through neglect, some things 
which he had learned in classical knowledge, under the 
mistaken notion that he might become vain of his attain- 
ments. Never was man more faithful to instruction im- 
parted: his stores continued to accumulate to the close 
of life. It was not barely a subject in the mass that he 
could grasp and retain, but in its minutest details, recol- 
lecting, in many instances, the identical words in which 
several sentences might be expressed, with the intonations 
of the voice, the point, and particular bearings of those 
words both in his native tongue, and in foreign languages. 
The subjects never assumed the appearance of objects at 
a distance, seen through a kind of haze, without the possi- 
bility of being able distinctly to perceive colour or form ; 
everything seemed to be at hand, ready to take up, and 
suitable for the occasion. The mist of years appeared to 
have no influence ; there was no dreamy recollection in his 
relations or remarks ; he had a daylight of his own, in which 
he lived and moved — and the sun being up, he was fur- 
nished with both light and shade through its shining, though 
it was on the former he particularly loved to expatiate. 

One thing was especially to be admired and valued in 
him, and that was the masculine grasp with which he laid 
hold of the essentials of religion ; supporting the stately 
cedar by a strength of argument to which those were un- 
equal who were meddling with minor twigs — the best 
adapted very often to their capacities and attainments, as 
though he had not taken equal care of these, and prevented 
them from yielding, in every instance, the fruit expected. 
All his learning was made subservient to the illustration 
and support of Scripture ; and his notes upon the bible 
are at once his monument and his eulogy. His knowledge 
was formed in a circle around it, as well as around the 
cross of Christ — increasing and expanding as he moved; 
never for a moment losing sight of the sun of truth in the 
centre, to which, after all, his learning was only beheld by 
himself as the halo round its disk — dim in the comparison, 


and yet derived from itself, and therefore glorious in its 

When assailed by a number of pamphleteers, and a few 
of the periodicals of the day, there was work in his hand, 
and a dignity in his port, which never allowed him to stoop 
from his high place, except once, in the Classical Journal, 
because a strictly classical subject, which involved literary 
character and credibility, to give a reply; and on that 
occasion, he entered the field like a giant mailed, with a 
shield impenetrable to the shafts of the enemy, and with 
weapons not to be resisted by the opposing force at that 
time against him ; while in his bosom there was resident 
an unoffending spirit, which, from its calmness, its meek- 
ness, enabled him, uncomplaining, to go out and come in 
before the people of God like a weaned child. While such 
attacks were a proof, as in Dr. Johnson's case, that he was 
worth combatting ; his silence, as in the case of Erasmus, 
prevented the assailants from receiving the honour, which 
there was no likelihood of some of them ever otherwise 
attaining, of being handed down to posterity, and so living 
in his reply. These observations, however, are not to be 
interpreted into an approval, on the part of the writer, of 
every article in Dr. Clarke's theological creed. While he 
regrets the petty annoyances which were experienced — say 
on the doctrine of the " Sonship," as it was denominated, 
yet the doctor had prudence sufficient not to suffer it to 
form a feature in his oral sermons; prudence [sufficient 
not to force it upon others in his correspondence and con- 
versations ; and honesty enough to inform the candidates 
for the ministry, that the doctrine was not strictly Wes- 
ley an, and that it was not his place, as President of the 
Methodist Conference, to make his views the standard of 
appeal, but the Notes and Sermons of Mr. Wesley. The 
result of this was, that the doctrine passed off as one of 
his own theological peculiarities; two or three good 
pamphlets were bequeathed to the connexion as legacies 
in the discussion, and the Conference protected itself against 
the spread of the doctrine among the preachers. 


With all Dr. Clarke's learning, lie was perfectly exempt 
from parade — shunning, rather than courting, public gaze. 
It was partly owing to this, that a positive promise could 
rarely be abstracted from him to preach out of his regular 
place, till near the time ; and of two chapels that have 
required a supply on ordinary occasions, he has selected 
the least, and gone into the country when it appeared to 
others that he ought to preach in the town. Now and 
then, it seemed to take the form of a secret pleasure, in 
disappointing gadders abroad, who ought to make it a point 
of conscience to attend their own places of worship. The 
crowd however, after all, which has an element of its own, 
and which seems to be the only situation in which some 
men can breathe and support existence, was, of all others, 
the situation in which he appeared incapable of living ; its 
gaze, in which some men delight to float and bask, was 
insufferable. He preferred the home of his own thoughts 
to that of living abroad in the thoughts and feelings of 
others. When he stirred from retirement, a sense of duty 
was the prompter, public good the object ; and then, he 
retired to re-appear in public in another form — in the pre- 
sence of his readers, through the medium of his writings, 
and through which he will continue to walk the earth, 
scattering the seed of eternal truth into every furrow 
turned up in the soul of the reader by the Spirit of God. 
It must be ceded, that the same sense of duty leads other 
men to stir abroad more frequently; and were it not for 
the ministrations of these laborious and self-denying men, 
so far as Wesleyan Methodism goes, much less good would 
be done than is at present presented to the religious eye : 
and if their presence were not as welcome as the return 
of spring, they would cease to be invited so often to the 
same place, as they would cease to be invited at all, if their 
popularity were not based on piety, talents, and usefulness. 

He had his peculiarities; but where is the objector that 
has not his own ; and, though blind to them, that does not 
appear more singular — not to say ridiculous to others, than 
those of the deceased did to himself? And where are the 


objectors that have an equal claim to peculiarities either of 
opinion or manner, from possessing equal ability to examine 
and to act for themselves ? Persons of very inferior minds 
may object ; but as they have their price, and cannot raise 
themselves one inch higher in intellect than the public, 
who have a general knowledge of their standard value in 
the market — will allow, their remarks will go for nothing. 
And after all, to what does it often amount, more than this ; 
that his peculiarity was not mine : but what does this 
imply, but that both have them, and from our personal 
inferiority, our own is the least conspicuous of the two ; 
and as to the ground of right to entertain them, perhaps 
the one is as tenable as the other. His peculiarities of 
conduct were the result of order, and only appeared when 
brought to bear upon the irregularities of others, and 
when separated from the reasons upon which they were 
founded. His peculiarities of opinion were generally the 
result of learning, research, and experience. But even the 
peculiarities of great men, when harmless, are entitled to 
be treated with deference. They may have reasons for 
them beyond the ken of humbler minds, and may not deem 
it necessary to declare to every obtruder what those reasons 
are. But whatever may have been the peculiarities of Dr. 
Adam Clarke, he goes through the world without a stain 
upon his moral character, without any shiftings in his 
professions and principles ; and with all the essentials of 
Christianity in his creed. Even his occasional dogmatisms, 
sometimes more apparent than real, were the dogmatisms 
of a settled conviction of the truth, and arose from the 
importance of the subject, and the virulence with which that 
subject was often opposed. And though there might be 
the occasional appearance of literary display, as in the 
" Advertisement" to the sermon on " Salvation by Faith ;" 
yet that will be found less in the Spirit of Hezekiah than at 
first might appear; done, not so much with a view to 
display his treasures, as to inspire the confidence of his 

Possessed of a greatness which, in some men, would have 


collected around itself a degree of awe, he was nevertheless 
accessible to all. There was no appearance of the magis- 
trate on the bench, no affected reserve; he lived, not in 
the fear, but in the affection of his brethren. Nor had he, 
in reference to the people, in consequence either of his 
spirit or his manner, ever to complain that their sun had 
set upon him, or, through any partial eclipse, had ever to 
make up lost ground. His favour in the eyes of the 
preachers and of the people was invariably on the increase. 
The sun of their approbation was nearer its meridian 
altitude at the close of life — at the last Conference he 
attended, which was in the month on which he died, and 
shone more brightly upon him and around him than at any 
former given period : and it is not too much to state, that, 
when otherwise, there is some radical defect; something 
objectionable in those who, as they advance in influence, 
whether in civil or religious society, diminish in glory. Real 
merit will always command its price in Methodism ; and 
though it may be called to pass through the cloud and 
through the storm, it will come out the same in substance 
as it entered ; or, to change the allusion, if the person is 
seen, like a sea-bird, dipping for awhile under water ; so, 
with the same bird, re-appearing in another quarter, shaking 
its silver plumage, he too will anon be seen, gay, unsullied, 
and in his proper place and position, skimming along the 
smooth expanse of water, where all is serenity below, and 
all is sunshine above. Instances of this are too recent, and 
too notorious, to render specifications necessary. 

Yet honoured as Dr. Clarke was, at home and abroad, 
from colleges and elsewhere, his honours, like his real 
literary acquirements, sat upon him with an ease and 
grace, as if they had been created only for himself; and 
there was an agreement between those honours and public 
feeling, which is not always the case with persons receiving 
them — being unable to appeal to the documents of pub- 
lished works or extraordinary attainments; and thus pro- 
voking the laugh of the learned, or the sneer of the crowd, 
owing to a want of suitability between the decorations and 


the wearers. His honours were not the result of favour, 
but of merit : the public saw, and heard, and felt ; and 
like the laurels that entwine the brow of the victor, they 
only excited the plaudits of the multitude. Based on 
genuine worth in the outset, his works were ever after- 
wards equal to the highest honours conferred. He reflected 
back as much light by his literary exertions, as could pos- 
sibly have been derived from what colleges and instituted 
societies could impart, inasmuch as they receive their 
very existence from the labours of such men : and he could 
say in the midst of all, " None of these things move me." 
He was unchanged in his spirit and demeanour ; the same 
humble, affable, courteous being as before, whether to 
poverty in rags, or childhood in the arms. In this respect, 
he passed on his way, like a person gorgeously apparelled, 
without being sensible of it; like one of the celestial in- 
telligences arrayed in the borrowed costume of earth, 
whose nature, whose bright interior so far surpasses any- 
thing that earth can yield, that the drapery, if felt at all, 
is only felt as laid on rather than required, having without 
it achieved everything equal to that exalted nature, and 
worthy of the superior order of beings to which he be- 

No man was more extensively known out of the pale of 
the church to which he belonged than Dr. Clarke. To the 
character and writings of no man is Wesleyan Methodism 
more indebted for the respectability it has attained, and for 
the influence it has exercised upon the mass of mankind, 
as to the productions of his pen. In no instance, since the 
days and the decease of the venerated Wesley, had a 
death in the body excited more interest, or awakened a 
more general public sympathy. He was a man whose 
society was courted by the learned ; with whom a prince 
of the House of Brunswick delighted to associate ; to whose 
pen the translations of the British and Foreign Bible 
Society were indebted ; and in whose labours that society 
gloried ; of whose aid the British government stood in need 
for the purpose of decyphering and arranging its records ; 


and one who, in the opinion of that government, entered 
upon its own imperishable pages, will be handed down to 
posterity — the writer employs the precise words, as " A 
man of extensive learning and indefatigable industry ;" 
his theological works exhibiting him meanwhile to suc- 
cessive generations, as an exalted Christian, and an able 


In the minutes of Conference for 1833, and in the Wes- 
leyan Magazine of the same year, for September, the 
opinion of the ministers assembled is expressed in no 
ordinary language respecting this great man. Glad of the 
opportunity of not only giving publicity to their own sen- 
timents, but of giving wider circulation to those of the 
founder of Methodism, they remark : " Mr. Wesley, who 
was an admirable judge of character, hesitated not to affirm, 
' Adam Clarke is doubtless an extraordinary young man, 
and capable of doing much good.' " They then proceed, 
" For nearly half a century did he continue to perform the 
most important labours as the servant of God and of man- 
kind, in various departments of the vineyard of the church, 
with great integrity, and with an industry which perhaps 
has never been surpassed. The natural strength of his 
mind and the range of his literary and biblical acquire- 
ments, were, in the opinion of competent judges, far be- 
yond the common standard even of those who have attained 
considerable rank among men of learning and research. 
Without at all presuming that he was free from defects, 
either as a man, a preacher, or a writer, we may yet safely 
place him, in all these characters, among the great men of 
his age. He was highly distinguished by his extraordinary 
attainments in oriental literature, which appears to have 
been one of the most favourite studies of his life, and by 
means of which he has often shed a new and profitable 
light upon the sacred text. Of his writings in general, it 
may be confidently said, they have added largely to the 
valuable literary and biblical stores of the country. The 
ability and fervent zeal with which for so many years he 
preached the gospel of the grace of God to enraptured 


thousands, in almost every part of the united kingdom, will 
long be remembered with the liveliest gratitude to their 
divine Redeemer, by multitudes to whom his labours were 
greatly blessed, both as the means of their conversion, and 
of their general edification. No man in any age of the 
church was ever known for so long a period to have at- 
tracted larger audiences ; no herald of salvation ever 
sounded forth his message with greater faithfulness or 
fervour; the fervour of love to Christ and to the souls of 
perishing sinners ; and few ministers of the gospel in 
modern times have been more honoured by the extra- 
ordinary unction of the Holy Spirit in their ministrations. 
To this unction chiefly, though associated with uncommon 
talents, must be attributed the wonderful success and 
popularity of his discourses. In preaching he had the 
happy art of combining great originality and depth of sub- 
ject, with the utmost plainness of speech and manner. Nor 
was this simplicity at all destroyed, but rather augmented, 
by the glow and animation of his soul when applying the 
offer of salvation to all within the sound of his voice, and 
reasoning strongly on the vital doctrines of the gospel. The 
ardent feeling which in others sometimes leads to a rapid 
invention of elegant or pompous language, in him was con- 
fined to the increased accumulation of great and noble 
sentiments. His favourite and most successful subjects in 
the pulpit were, the love of God to fallen man, the atone- 
ment, repentance, faith in Christ as the grand principle of 
the spiritual life and of practical holiness, together with the 
undoubted assurance of adoption by the direct witness of 
the Holy Spirit in the heart of the believer. On these 
subjects he would often rise to the genuine grandeur of 
evangelical preaching, pouring forth like a torrent the un- 
ostentatious eloquence of a benevolent and loving heart. 
Energy, indeed, was one very peculiar characteristic of his 
mind. Nor was he less remarkable for sensibility, and all 
the tenderness and sympathy of an affectionate disposition. 
He could be "gentle, even as a nurse cherisheth her 
children ; " yet when environed with great difficulties in 


the prosecution of his noble objects, he seemed, from the 
extraordinary vigour and determined purpose of his soul, 
to conquer them with ease. His moral character was above 
all suspicion, and above all praise. In this particular, no 
cloud, no speck was ever seen to darken the horizon of his 
life. In prayer he was simple, spiritual, devout, and some- 
times singularly ardent. His piety was sincere and deep, 
and eminently practical ; the very reverse of that sensitive 
but unsound feeling which loves to flourish on the subject 
of experience, but serves not God in a conscientious obe- 
dience to all the precepts of the gospel. He was almost 
a perfect model of diligence in duty. The ingenuity and 
energy with which he husbanded his time, and carried for- 
ward the arduous plans of usefulness in which he was con- 
stantly employed, formed one of the most distinguished 
features of his admirable character. He was a warm- 
hearted, faithful, affectionate, and constant friend. Arid 
in all the relations of domestic life, as a husband, a father, 
and a master, he was true to the duties which belong to 
them, — most indulgent, ^kind, and sympathizing ; always 
happy in the bosom of his family, and always labouring, 
by every art in his power, to make them also happy. 
He was uniformly a firm, attached, and zealous Methodist; 
and in promoting the interests of our great cause, may be 
said to have been ' in labours more abundant.' " 

Such, in this extract, — penned by one, since laid low — 
himself one of the mighty — the Rev. David M'Nicol — 
such is the estimate of the Wesleyan Methodist Confer- 
ence of the character of Dr. Adam Clarke, and it is here 
brought forward in support of several of the preceding re- 
marks — remarks grounded on opinions not hastily formed, 
nor yet without the means of forming them. On this sub- 
ject, two or three closing observations will perhaps not 
appear much out of place. 

It is now nearly thirty years since the writer of the 
present article entered the itinerant ministry. During the 
whole of that period, everything connected with the author 
of these sermons has been matter of deep and curious 


interest. Dr. Clarke was looked upon by him, in the aggre- 
gate, as a l statue of thought,' as a rare creation of God, with 
specimens of which the world is only occasionally indulged, 
the lapse, of centuries sometimes intervening between the 
appearance of characters so extraordinary for intellect and 
learning. It was with the writer as it is with some men 
who look upon an extraordinary work of human art, which 
astonishes by its magnitude, and throws the mind, while 
contemplating the mechanism, harmony, and proportion of 
the several parts, into a kind of mystical absorption, the 
person visiting it again, and again, discovering, in the course 
of each successive survey some new beauty, some secret 
spring, and always leaving it with a resolution to repair to 
it on future occasions, and as early and frequently as pos- 

He was too remarkable a personage for the writer not 
W feel an anxiety on entering his presence, though remote 
from that which induces a man to seek an interview with 
a superior, as a feast for the vanity of the soul in after life, 
remaining satisfied with the bare power to state the fact, 
without ever having treasured up a single thought beyond 
the recollection of such interview, or being able to appre- 
ciate the qualities of the heart, or the powers of the mind. 
Impressed with the doctor's superiority, and the writer 
being twenty years his junior, his presence was entered 
with the views and sensibilities of a pupil ; it was entered 
for the purpose of knowing, and that which was worth 
knowing was deemed of sufficient value to preserve. It 
may be further observed, not by way of ostentation, for 
sufficient insignificancy was felt in the comparison, that the 
writer was admitted to a freedom of intercourse not enjoyed 
by all, which may be easily traced, without affecting volun- 
tary humility, to the general value the doctor attached to 
sincerity and affection, in whomsoever they might be found, 
whether in infancy or old age. Add to a correspondence 
of years, the writer was with him in different parts of 
England; voyaged with him on the deep; in the storm 
and in the calm; circumnavigated with him the Zetland 


Isles ; crossed and re-crossed with him the Trish Channel ; 
visited the scenes of his childhood and youth, walking 
meanwhile by his side, when early days seemed to waft 
over his patriarchal spirit like the breath of heaven, through 
the sudden inspiration of which he seemed to renew his 
strength like the eagle, though upwards of seventy, and 
live over again, both in feeling and in mind, his boyish days, 
while noticing the incidents, circumstances, and persons 
associated with each particular place ; and in all this the 
venerable doctor had a faithful and affectionate observer as his 
companion ; one who permitted nothing to escape, but who 
felt, at each step, like a person coming upon hidden treasure. 
The writer, in short, has seen him in sickness and in health, 
at home and abroad ; by day and by night ; in public and in 
private. Bringing to the subject such a class of feelings, 
and such opportunities, it is not presumptuous in him 
thus to offer an opinion. To do justice to the subject, 
he is aware, requires talents commensurate with those of 
the author; but a child is not despised for lisping the 
praise of a parent ; a pupil is not to be blamed for eulo- 
gizing the kindness and ability of a master; a friend is 
permitted to speak well of a friend. Talent itself will 
never supply the lack of sincerity and cordiality ; and 
sincerity, the writer is persuaded, will not have to deplore 
the absence of approving friendship, warm as may have 
been his feelings, and laudatory as may have appeared his 

Wesleyan Methodism has produced many rare men. 
These, like good seed sown in good ground, have taken 
deep and permanent root, and lifting their lofty heads to 
the skies, have yielded an abundance of rich and whole- 
some fruit, extending their wide-spreading branches for 
the shelter and repose of the volant, bright-plumaged birds 
of heaven. They are men whose names are written, not 
on the sand of the sea-shore or of the desert, to be effaced 
by the first wind, or washed away by the first returning 
wave, but engraven on the rock, as are the names of the 
holy and useful of every age, and of every section of the 


Christian church : and the name of Adam Clarke -will be 
seen and read, like some of the classic inscriptions of 
Greece and of Rome, for generations to come. He is one 
of those, the recollection even of whose private virtues 'will 
ever be green in the memory of the blessed in the records 
of the militant church ; one of those gone to join the church 
triumphant; gone, fresh as a rose — though in age, newly- 
plucked from the soil of Sharon, to breathe in balm and in 
bloom on the banks of that river, whose streams make glad 
the city of God. 


Newcastle- Upon- Tyne, 
Aug. 26, 1836. 




Jeremiah x. 11. 

•nan* vtay xb xpnxi K-avm nv6n am 1 ? rnnxn nna 
: r6n K'nif mnn jm wwa 

Kidena temerun lehorn ; Elahaiya di-shemaiya ve-arka la abadu, 
yeabadu mearda, u-min techoth shemaiya elleh. 

" Thus shall ye say unto them ; The gods that have not made 
the heavens and the earth, they shall perish from the earth, and 
from under these heavens." 

It is a singular circumstance that this verse, as the 
reader may observe, is written in the Chaldee language; 
that it is the only verse so written in the whole of this 
prophet-; and that it should be written in this language, 
without any notice being taken of it by the prophet 

In Ezra and Daniel, though the greater part is written 
in Hebrew, yet there are considerable portions in both 
which are written in the pure Chaldee or Chaldaio- 
Syriac, which was in use about the time of the Baby- 
lonish captivity ; but in almost every instance where it 


is introduced, it is distinctly noted, and the reader is 
apprised of the change of language ; e. g., The Chaldee 
part of Daniel begins chap, ii., ver. 4, and continues to 
the end of chap. vii. ; it is formally introduced thus : 
" Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac :" and 
the reason why this is done is sufficiently evident from 
the circumstances of the case ; for as the Chaldeans had 
a particular interest both in the history and prophecies, 
from chap. ii. 4 to the end of chap, vii., the whole is 
written in Chaldee ; but as the prophecies which remain 
concern times posterior to the Chaldean monarchy, and 
particularly relate to the church and people of God 
especially, they are written in the Hebrew tongue, this 
being the tongue in which God chose to reveal all his 
counsels given under the Old Testament relative to 
the New. [See also Ezra iv. 7? "The letter was writ- 
ten in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian 

As, therefore, the text contains a message to the Baby- 
lonians, it is sent in their own language. The Chaldee 
Version makes it the beginning of the copy of the 
epistle which the prophet sent to the rest of the elders 
of the captivity who were in Babylon. Some have 
doubted its authenticity ; but it is found in all the an- 
cient versions, and in every MS. that has hitherto been 
collated, one of the 13th century excepted ; besides, it is 
strictly in unison with the context; and although Dr. 
Blayney is not very friendly to it, yet he acknowledges 
that " it is deduced by direct inference from the prophet's 
words, and that it was perhaps usually read in this section 
of the prophet, in the assemblies of the people, in order 
that they might have their answer always ready, when- 
ever they were molested on the point of religion, 
or importuned to join the idolatrous worship of the 
Chaldeans." — Thus shall ye say unto them, " The gods 


that have not made the heavens and the earth, they 
shall perish from the earth, and from under these hea- 

From this declaration we learn-^- 

I. That creation, or causing that to exist that had no 
existence before, is the work of an almighty, self-existent, 
and eternal Being. 

II. That the works of creation give demonstration of 
such a Being. 

III. That creation implies also conservation or pro- 
vidence ; and that such providence or conservation con- 
tains in it demonstrative proofs of the continued existence 
of such a Being. 

IV. That as life, breath, and all things come from 
and depend on such a Being, every intelligent creature 
should give him adoration and worship. 

But what kind of a Being is this God? 

1. All men, who think rightly on the subject, under- 
stand God to be a Hving and rational Essence. 

2. And that this Essence is the most excellent and 
perfect of all essences. 

3. The perfections of a rational essence are threefold : 
(1) In the understanding ; (2) In the will ; and (3) In 
the faculty of working. 

(1) In the understanding, there must be wisdom. 

(2) In the will, there must be goodness. 

(3) In the faculties of working, there must be power 
and might. 

Now absolute sovereignty, in each of these, constitutes 
the SUPREME GOD ! Let us consider these points 
more particularly : — 

1. The Being called God is allowed, by all who think 
rightly on the subject, to be a living rational Essence. 


A. He is an. Essence, i. e., something that exists, and 
exists distinctly from everything ; and is an independent 
Essence or Being ; it exists of and by itself; is not con- 
nected with any other in. order to be preserved in exist- 
ence ; so that were all other essences destroyed, this 
would still subsist, and this must imply that this Essence 
must be underived, else it could not be independent; 
and the destruction of its principle must necessarily in- 
volve its destruction also, for all effects must cease with 
their producing causes. 

2. As therefore this Essence is independent and un- 
derived, existing of and by itself, it must also be eternal ; 
for as it is the first cause, and independent of all other 
kinds of being, so it cannot be affected by any other ; 
and cannot destroy itself, for this would suppose it to 
possess a power superior to itself, which is absurd ; and 
as nothing else can destroy it, and it cannot destroy itself, 
it must therefore be eternal. 

3. If all other beings be derived beings (i. e., cannot 
be the cause of their own existence), and this is the 
only first and unoriginated Cause ; therefore, all others 
must owe their being to it, and be dependant on it. This 
Being, then, is the Creator and Preserver of all things ; 
and this is the general notion entertained of God. 

B. I have said above that this Being is considered as 
a living Essence ; this distinguishes him from matter — 
from all chaos, or first seeds, or principles of things ; and 
from all inertia, or vis inertias — that disposition of matter 
by which it resists all endeavours to alter its state of 
rest ; and as life implies an active, operative existence, 
so it is properly applied to God, from whose life comes 
the living principle of all things, and by whose activity 
or energy comes all life, and all the operations of animate 
and inanimate beings. 

C. He is also called a rational Essence. As reason 


implies that faculty whereby we discern good from evil, 
right from wrong ; so in the divine Essence it implies a 
boundless knowledge or sagacity, by which it compre- 
hends all ideas of all things that do or can exist, with 
all their relations, connexions, combinations, uses, and 
ends. Such a rational Essence is God; and as he is 
the Cause of all being, so all reason, sagacity, knowledge, 
and understanding come from him. 

2. Thus we find that he is the most excellent and 
most perfect of all living and rational essences ; and 
whatever excellence or perfection is found in any being, 
must be derived from himself. 

D. This essence is the most excellent. Excellence 
signifies a surpassing or going beyond others, in grand or 
useful qualities. Whatever of this sort we see in any 
being, whatever we hear has beeD possessed by any, 
and whatever we can conceive possible to be possessed 
by any, — God excels all this, and infinitely more than 
this; and therefore he is the most excellent of all essences. 

E. This essence is the most perfect. Perfection sig- 
nifies anything complete, consummate ; in every respect 
made and finished ; so that nothing is wanting, nothing 
is redundant ; and in a moral sense, what is entirely 
•pure, unblamable, and immaculate ; or that which in 

every moral and spiritual respect has consummate excel- 
lence ; so God, as being the Cause of all that is great, 
good, immaculate, and excellent, is himself the most 
perfect of all essences ; for we can conceive of nothing 
that can be added to his excellence to make it greater or 
more perfect than it is ; and we can conceive of no per- 
fection that he does not possess in an absolute and 
unlimited manner. 

It has been stated that the perfections of a rational 
essence are threefold : (1) Understanding ; (2) Will ; 
and (3) The power or faculty of working. 


(1) Understanding. In this there must be wisdom ; 
" the knowledge of the best means to accomplish the 
best end," and the proper comprehension of this end. 
Reason implies understanding, i. e., the proper concep- 
tion of a thing, what it is, why it is, and of what use ? 
"Wisdom sees how it is to be employed ; and superintends 
the employment or operation till the end be produced. 

(2) Will, according to Mr. Locke, is that power which 
the mind has to order the consideration of any idea ; or, 
the forbearing to consider it ; or, to prefer the motion of 
any part of the body to its rest ; and vice versa. Will, 
in God, is that which he chooses or determines to do, or 
leave undone. Now, as an excellent, perfect, and wise 
Being cannot will, or wish, or desire anything that is 
not good, wise, useful, and proper to be done ; so the 
will of God is erer influenced by his goodness ; there- 
fore he can never make a bad or improper choice, nor 
determine anything that is not good in itself, and good 
or proper to all those who may be objects of its opera- 
tion. As will implies desire, and God's nature is good, 
so his will or desire must be good, — good in itself, and 
good to all those whom it affects; hence he must be 
good in all his actions, and good to all his creatures, in 
all his determinations and providential dispensations 
towards them. 

(3) The power or faculty of working. This implies 
what is done, what can be done, and what ought to be 
done. What his understanding sees to be right, his will 
knows to be good, and desires as such, his power brings 
into being and effect. All that he has done, is just and 
good ; all that can be done, he can do ; and all that 
ought to 'be done, he has done, or will do. 

4. From his nature it appears he is unbounded in his 
understanding and wisdom ; unlimited in his will and 
goodness ; und uncontrollable in his faculty of working. 


He has, therefore, these three perfections of a rational 
essence ; and he has them in an absolute manner ; and, 
consequently, that absolute sovereignty that characterizes 

As my text binds me to consider those arguments in 
favour of the being of a God, which are principally fur- 
nished by creation, or a consideration of what are called 
the works of nature ; I cannot enter into those which 
are drawn from the a priori mode of argumentation ; 
nor into those in general which belong to metaphysics ; 
there are a few, however, produced by the schoolmen, 
and especially by Thomas Aquinas, which are very 
simple, are level to most capacities, and appear to me 
powerfully convincing The five arguments following 
are those to which I particularly refer : — 

1. The argument deduced from rest and motion. 

2. From the necessity of an efficient cause, or from 
cause and effect. 

3. From possibility and necessity. 

4. From gradation ; or the different degrees of perfec- 
tion and excellence in natural things. 

5. From the government of affairs ; or the wise ten- 
dency in all things to produce the most beneficial results. 

These I shall little more than state, without arguing 
them at large ; to pass them by wholly might be con- 
sidered a culpable neglect. 

The being of God, says this eminent schoolman and 
divine, may be proved in five ways. The first and most 
manifest is the proof deduced from motion. It is certain, 
and agrees with the testimony of the senses, that there 
is motion in the universe ; but what is moved, is moved 
by some agency, and nothing is moved except according 
to the power inherent in that which operates ; for motion 
proceeds only so far as the power of the mover extends. 
Motion is nothing else than the bringing anything from 

VOL. I. B 


the capability of being moved, into the act ; but from the 
capability of motion nothing can be brought into the act 
unless by some active agent ; as heat in act (i. e., fire) 
makes wood which is capable of heat become actually 
hot, and thus it is acted upon and altered. It is not 
possible that the same thing should be both active and 
only capable of action at the same time, but it must be 
either the one or the other; what is not actually hot 
cannot be at that same moment potentially hot, as it 
must then be potentially cold ; it is, therefore, impossible 
that in the same moment and in the same way anything 
should be both the mover and the moved, or, which is 
the same thing, self-motive ; it is necessary, therefore, 
that everything which moves should be moved by some- 
thing else ; if, too, that by which it is moved be itself 
moved, it is necessary that it should be moved by another, 
and that by another ; yet this does not proceed in infini- 
tum, because then there would be no first mover, and 
consequently nothing moving another ; because secondary 
motions only arise from the first impelling cause, as a 
stick moves not except according as it is moved by the 
hand; therefore it is necessary to arrive at some first 
mover which is itself moved by nothing; and this all 
understand as the Deity. 

The second way is from the necessity of an efficient 
cause ; for we find in all sensible things that there is a 
series of efficient causes ; nor has it ever yet been found, 
nor is it at all possible, that anything should be its own 
efficient cause (i. e., the origin of its own being), because 
thus it would be prior to itself, which is impossible ; nor 
in efficient causes can we proceed in infinitum, because 
in all efficient causes, detailed according to order, the 
first is the cause of the middle, and the middle of the 
last, whether the middle be many or one only ; the cause 
being removed, the effect is removed also ; therefore, if 


there had not been a first efficient cause, there would 
neither have been a last nor a middle ; but if we proceed 
in infinitum with efficient causes there will be no first 
efficient cause, and thus there will be neither ultimate 
effect nor medial efficient causes, which is manifestly 
absurd ; it is therefore necessary to suppose some first 
efficient cause ; which all call God. 

The third way is deduced from possibility and neces- 
sity, thus : we find in nature certain things which may 
exist or may not exist, as those which we see generated 
and again corrupted, and consequently may be or may 
not be ; it is impossible that all those things which are 
thus should always exist, because it is possible for them 
not to be, as is proved by their non-existence ; if there- 
fore all things might possibly not have existed, then at 
some time nothing was in nature ; but if this be tme, 
then nothing had now been, because what does not 
exist cannot begin to be, except through the agency of 
what does exist ; if, therefore, nothing had existed, it 
would have been impossible that anything could have 
begun to exist, and thus now there would have been 
nothing, which is manifestly absurd ; therefore all entities 
are not merely possible, but it is requisite there should 
be something necessary in nature ; but every necessary 
existence either has the cause of its necessity from an- 
other, or it has not ; but we cannot proceed in infinitum 
in necessary existences, which are the causes of their 
own necessity, any more than we can in efficient causes, 
as is proved above ; it is requisite, therefore, to suppose 
something that necessarily exists by itself, not having 
the cause of its necessity from a foreign source, but 
being the cause of this necessity to others ; this is what 
all agree to call God. 

The fourth way is taken from the degrees found in 
nature ; in nature there is found something either more 

b 2 


or less good, and true, and noble ; and thus of other 
things of the same kind ; but more and less are predi- 
cated of different things according to the different degrees 
in which they approach anything that is great ; thus, 
that is hotter which approaches nearest to that which is 
hottest ; there is therefore something which is most true, 
most good, and most noble, and consequently existing in 
the highest degree ; for those things that are most true 
are the highest existences, as has already been proved ; 
but what is called the summit of its kind in any genus 
is the cause of all which are of that genus ; thus, fire, 
which is the greatest warmth, is the cause of all warmth, 
as must plainly appear; there is, consequently, some- 
thing which is to all entities the cause of being, and 
of goodness, and of every perfection ; and this we call 

The fifth way is taken from the government of affairs ; 
we see that those things which are without any kind of 
thought, i. e., natural bodies, work together to a certain 
end, which appears from this, that always or most fre- 
quently they work in such a manner as to produce the 
best result ; from which it follows that they arrive at this 
end, not from chance, but from design ; but those things 
that want thought cannot accomplish a design unless 
directed by something thoughtful and intelligent, as an 
arrow by the marksman ; therefore there is something 
intelligent by which all natural things are directed to 
a particular end ; and this we call God. * 

But we must not imagine that reason or good sense 
permit us to suppose that there might, or might not have 
been such an essence as is called God, for God exists 
necessarily, &c. {See below.) 

* Vide Thorns Aquinatis, Summa Totius Theologiae. Article 
III., conclusio. vol. i., p. 5. Ant. 1624. 


Some of the ancients had a few right notions of the 
nature of a First Cause. 

Plato calls God 6 ayaQoq, or to ayaOov, the Good Being, 
or the Supreme Good, because he dispenses good to his 

He calls him to kclWoq, Beauty, because in his essence 
lie is ever equal, regular, and full of proportion and har- 

He calls him ij aKndua, Truth, because he is the source 
whence all truth and right principles proceed. 

He calls him iraTtip, Father, because he is the source 
and principle of all things. 

He calls him 6 apprjrog, or 6 aka\t)Tog, the Ineffable, 
because there is neither genus, nor species, nor difference, 
nor parallel which can be applied to him. He is beyond 
our expressions and our thoughts, for He is a pure 
spirit, and we neither speak nor think of anything that 
is not corporeal or an object of our senses, or analogical 
to some sensible forms. 

1. God exists necessarily, i. e., such a being as God is 
must exist ; it is impossible that there should not be such 
an essence as God ; and by the necessity of his exist- 
ence, he must have existed always, and everywhere, and 
must do so to eternity. Bdt he exists after an incor- 
poreal manner, not like that of men, but after a manner 
wholly unknown to us. He is destitute of body, and 
all bodily shape ; and therefore cannot be seen, heard, 
or touched. We have ideas of the attributes of God, 
but do not know the substance even of anything; we 
see only the figures and colours of bodies ; hear only 
sounds ; touch only the outward surfaces ; smell only 
odours ; and taste savours ; and do not, cannot, by any 
sense, or any reflex act, know their inward substances ; 
and much less can we have any notion of the substance 
of God. 


Therefore, it is grossly absurd to worship him under 
any shape or form ; for of these, in reference to God, we 
hare no ideas, as his substance to us is, and ever must 
be, absolutely inconceivable. Thus, all image-worship, 
and even the attempt to worship him by symbols and 
emblems, must be a species of idolatry. Symbols, or 
emblems, must be the patterns of ideas ; but as we know 
nothing of his substance, so we can form no emblem or 
symbol of his nature. 

2. Sir Isaac Newton thought it better to define God, 
not according to his nature, existence, or perfections, but 
from his dominion. It is the dominion of a spiritual 
being or Lord, that we call God ; true dominion, true 
God ; supreme dominion, supreme God ; feigned do- 
minion, false God. 

3. From such true dominion it follows, that the true 
God is living, intelligent, and powerful; and, from his 
other perfections, that he is supremely perfect. He is 
eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient ; that is, 
he endures from eternity to eternity, and is present from 
infinity to infinity. 

4. He governs all things that exist, and knows all 
things that are to be known. He is not eternity nor 
infinity ; but he is eternal and infinite. He is not dura- 
tion nor space; but he endures and is present. He 
endures always, and is present everywhere ; and by 
existing always and everywhere, he constitutes the very 
things, duration and space, eternity and infinity. 

5. It is strange that the doctrine of real absolute and 
external space should have induced some philosophers to 
conclude it was a part or attribute of God ; or that God 
himself was space ; inasmuch as incommunicable attri- 
butes of the Deity appeared to agree to this; such as 
infinity, immutability, indivisibility, and incorporeity ; it 
being also uncreated, impassive, without beginning or 


ending ; not considering that all these negative proper- 
ties belong to nothing. For nothing has no limits ; 
cannot be moved, nor changed, nor divided; nor is it 
created, nor can it be destroyed. See Siris., sect. 270. 

6. It is therefore his presence that constitutes this 
space, without which it could not exist ; and since every 
particle of space is always, and in every indivisible 
moment, everywhere, the Creator and Lord of all things 
cannot be never or nowhere. 

He is omnipresent, not only virtually but substantially; 
for power without substance cannot exist. 

7- All things are contained and move in or by him, 
but without any mutual passion ; he suffers nothing from 
the motions of bodies ; nor do they undergo any resist- 
ance from his omnipresence. 

8. We know God by his properties and by his attri- 
butes, by the most wise and excellent structure of things, 
and by final causes ; but we adore and worship him on 
account of his dominion ; for God, setting aside domi- 
nion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but 
fate and nature. See Newton. 

It is on his creation of all things, and his government 
of the heavens and the earth, that God has placed the 
demonstration of his being and his right of worship. 

Hence we learn — 

Prop. I. That creation, or causing an existence where 
there was no being previously, is the work of an almighty, 
self-existent, and eternal Being. 

1 It appears to have been an universally received 
truth, that the heavens and the earth could not have 
produced themselves ; that so much order and economy 
could not have been produced by accident or chance ; 
that everything that was made must have a maker, and 
that this maker, who was the cause of all, could have no 
cause of his own being; and that he who had no 


beginning could have no end ; and that this being who 
is called God, or by some other name expressive of the 
same idea, should be acknowledged and adored. 

2. The word creation has two senses, 1 . It signifies the 
production of some being that had no antecedent exist- 
ence ; and in the Bible it means the production of the 
visible heavens, with all their host of stars and planets, 
primary and secondary, and the earth or terraqueous 
globe, with all its solid and fluid parts, atmosphere, and 
vapours. 2. It means the arranging, ordering, and de- 
corating that which was created, and producing a par- 
ticular kind of being, out of matter already made ; thus 
God created fish and fowl out of the waters, and man 
and beast out of the earth, and caused the trees, plants, 
flowers, and every kind of herbage, to spring out of the 
ground ; but the materials out of which these were 
formed were brought into being by the first creative act. 
And God is represented as spending six days in arrang- 
ing, ordering, and decorating the whole. 

3. Now as creation, or the production of beings that 
had no existence before, is properly the act of an un- 
limited power; the production of different kinds of 
beings out of matter totally dissimilar from those beings, 
is also properly called creation ; because it requires the 
same unlimited power and skill to produce them, as it 
required to bring the first matter, or materials out of 
which they are formed, into being. To say, the earth 
and heavens, &c, have been created out of nothing, is 
both incautious and unphilosophic ; for this intimates 
that nothing produced the substance or first matter out 
of which these things were formed ; but the only proper 
definition is the production of some thing or things, 
being or beings, that had no antecedent existence. There 
was ubi, or space, but there was no being to occupy that 
space. Creation peopled this ubi, or space. Space is 


not being or substance, and consequently cannot produce 
substance of any kind. Ex nihilo nihil fit, " out of 
nothing, comes nothing," is a true maxim ; but where 
there was nothing, the power of God can cause some- 
thing to exist that had no previous existence. This is a 
maxim equally sound, and equally acceptable to the 
common sense and reason of man. 

He, therefore, who created the heavens and the earth is 
God ; those beings, real or imaginary, which have not 
created those things are not gods ; if they exist at all, 
they are dependant and destructible, and of them it may 
be said, with the strictest propriety, they shall perish front 
the earth, and from under these heavens. And thus it is 
proved, that creation, or causing that to exist that had 
no previous existence, is the work of an almighty, self- 
existent, and eternal Being. 

Prop. II. The works of creation give demonstration 
of such a being as is above-described. This appears, — 
1 . In the vastness of their masses. 2. In the multitude 
of their number. 3. In the immensity of their distances. 
4. In the velocity of their motions. 5. In the skill of 
their arrangement. And 6. In their final cause, or object 
of their creation. 

1. The vastness of their masses. Though there be 
only a few of the heavenly bodies whose bulk can be 
ascertained, yet these are sufficient to demonstrate the 
omnipotence of the Creator, though we have reason to 
believe that most even of these are among the least of 
the celestial host. 

a. In computing the magnitudes of the heavenly 
bodies, it is usual to take the earth as the radix of com- 
parison, and having ascertained its bulk, to show that 
such and such planets, &c, are so many times larger or 
less than it. Now, it is well known, that the diameter 
of the earth, i. e., the length of a line passing through 

b 3 


its centre, from the Zenith to the Nadir, or from the 
South to the North Pole, would be 7,954 miles. 

The diameter of the Moon is found to be 2,172 miles ; 
therefore, the Earth, being considered as one, the Moon 
is one forty-ninth of the Earth's bulk. 

The diameter of Mercury is 3,191 miles; therefore, 
he is one-fifteenth of the bulk of the Earth. 

The diameter of Venus is 7 5 630 miles ; therefore, she 
is eight-ninths as large as the Earth. 

The diameter of Mars is 4,135 miles ; therefore, he is 
one-seventh of the magnitude of the Earth. 

The diameter of Herschel is 34,457 miles ; therefore, 
he is eighty-and-a-half times greater than the Earth. 

The diameter of Saturn is 79,405 miles; therefore, 
he is nine hundred and ninety-five times, greater than the 

The diameter of Jupiter is 86,396 miles ; therefore, 
he is one thousand two hundred and eighty-one times 
greater than the Earth. 

The diameter of Saturn's ring is 185,280 miles ; but 
of this ring there is no proportional bulk given, because 
it is not a solid globe. 

The diameter of the Sun is 886,473 miles ; therefore 
it is one million, three hundred and eighty four thou- 
sand, four hundred and sixty-two times greater than the 

Now all these points have been demonstrated in such 
a way by astronomers, that not a doubt remains of their 
general accuracy ; and yet the largest of these heavenly 
bodies, to common observers, does not appear as large as 
a coach-wheel ; — e. g., the sun, though more than a mil- 
lion of times greater than the whole terrestrial globe! 
The next in apparent largeness, e. g., the moon, no 
greater than a common-sized plate. Venus and Jupiter 
like luminous patches, and the rest of the planets like 


lucid points. And yet the planet Jupiter, which we 
sometimes call the morning and sometimes the evening 
star, is not less than twelve hundred and eighty-one 
rimes larger than the immense globe on which we live. 

b. Now when it is considered that all these perform 
their various revolutions in the immensity of space, 
without ever deviating from the path prescribed for 
them, and yet are hung upon nothing, what evidence do 
they not give of an intelligent Being, infinitely greater 
than themselves, whose power is unlimited and irresist- 
ible ; who alone could frame, can guide and sustain such 
tremendously enormous masses ! 

2. As to the solar system, the number of luminous 
and illumined bodies can easily be ascertained, though 
the quantity of their masses is inconceivable to common 

Of this system the sun is the centre; and around 
him, at different distances, what are called the planets, 
primary and secondary, revolve. 

Mercury, the nearest, revolves around him in eighty- 
seven days, twenty-three hours, fifteen minutes, and 
forty seconds. This is his sidereal, and therefore his 
complete revolution. 

Venus revolves in two hundred and twenty-four 
days, sixteen hours, forty-nine minutes, and eleven se- 

The Earth, with her satellite, the moon, in three 
hundred and sixty-five days, six hours, nine minutes, 
and twelve seconds ; and the moon around the earth in 
twenty-seven days, seven hours, forty-three minutes, 
and twelve seconds. 

Mars, in nearly two years ; or one year, three hundred 
and twenty-one days, twenty-three hours, thirty minutes, 
and thirty-six seconds. 


Jupiter, in nearly twelve years ; or eleven years, three 
hundred and seventeen days, fourteen hours, twenty- 
seven minutes, and eleven seconds. 

Saturn, in twenty- nine years and a half; or twenty- 
nine years, one hundred and seventy-six days, fourteen 
hours, thirty-six minutes, and forty-three seconds. 

And Herschel, in eighty-four years, twenty-nine days, 
and twenty-nine minutes. 

Some of these planets have satellites, or secondary 
planets, that revolve around them as they do about the 
sun : the moon is a satellite to the earth. Of such se- 
condaries, Jupiter has four, which answer the same end 
to him as the moon does to our earth ; Saturn has seven, 
and Herschel has six. 

Besides these, there have lately been discovered four 
other planetary bodies, which revolve in vast orbits in 
the space between Mars and Jupiter. These are called 
Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. These, with the sun, 
the primary of all, make thirty planets; and these, 
together with the comets, constitute what is now termed 
the Solar System. But what are these, however im- 
mense in themselves, and in the system which they con- 
stitute, when compared with those other bodies which 
we call stars ; and to distinguish them from the planets, 
call them fixed, as the former change their places, which 
the latter do not appear to do ! 

Though we have had different catalogues of these 
fixed stars made by very accurate astronomers, yet those 
catalogues depended on the power of the glasses by 
which the starry vault has been examined. We find 
more and more discovered in proportion to the power 
and accuracy of the instruments employed ; so that had 
we higher powers, and proportionate strength in our 
optic nerves, there would be no end to the numbers that 


would be there found out ; and hence we may safely say 
that those heavenly bodies are innumerable. Again, as 
it is most probable that every star is a sun like ours, and 
some of them perhaps much greater ; and each is the 
centre of a system, in which a multitude of primary and 
secondary planets may and do revolve, so that every part 
of what we call infinite space is occupied ; and that that 
space is constituted by the presence of God, which pre- 
sence fills eternity; and that on him all suns, planets, 
and every kind of beings depend ; — how inconceivable, 
then, must the Creator be, and what argument can be 
better calculated to prove his being than the enormous 
magnitudes and infinite multitude of th^se masses ! 
Well, then, might the prophet say, " The gods that have 
not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from 
the earth, and from under these heavens." He alone, 
who is before, and has made all things, is eternal ; all 
other beings must perish and be annihilated, if detached 
for a moment from his superintendence and energy. 

3. But the distances of those bodies from each other, 
and from the earth, is a farther proof of the being and 
perfections of this great first Cause. I shall produce in 
order the greater bodies that belong to our system. 

English Mites. 

Mercury's mean 

distance from the Sun 




















But their distances from the earth are of more im- 
portance to us. 


English Miles. 

Earth's least distance from the Sun, is 93,908,984 



Earth, 52,376,602 



















Thus we find that the moon, the nearest planet to 
■our earth, is never less than two hundred and twenty- 
two thousand, nine hundred and twenty English miles 
distant from its centre. 

And that Saturn, who may be easily discovered with 
the naked eye, is never less than 766 million, 223 thou- 
sand, 200 miles from the earth. 

But it is well known that the planet Herschel is still 
more remote, and yet may be seen without the aid of a 
glass ; for he is never less removed from the earth than 
1642 million, 663 thousand, 450 English miles; and his 
distance may amount to upwards of two thousand and 
two millions of miles ! And yet, take in this immense 
orbit, which includes those of all the other planets, and 
it is but a speck when compared to the incomprehensible 
distance of the fixed stars ; and they are altogether but 
as an atom or indivisible point, when compared with 
illimitable space. And what is this space in comparison 
of Him who inhabits eternity, and constitutes eternity 
by his eternal existence ! 

4. The velocity with which the planets revolve in 
their orbits is an additional proof of th.e being and the 
power of the Creator. 

The sun, which is 1 million, 384 thousand, 462 times 
larger than the earth, though fixed in the centre, yet 


revolves round his own axis in 25 days, 14 hours, and 
8 minutes. 

Mercury's hourly motion in his orbit is 111 thousand, 
256 miles. 

English Miles. 

Venus revolves, per Hour, at the rate of 81,398 

The Earth Do. 75,222 

The Moon Do. 2,335 

Mars Do. 56,212 

Jupiter Do. 30,358 

Saturn Do. 22,351 

Herschel Do. 15 846 

But even the quickest of these motions is the crawling 
of a worm when compared to the velocity of light, which 
is proved to fly at the rate of nearly 200,000 miles in a 
second! — a particle of light projected from the sun 
arrives at the earth in eight minutes and a quarter 
That light is a substance is easily demonstrated. Not- 
withstanding this inconceivably rapid motion, it is found 
to be progressive, and may be measured; it may be 
stopped in its progress, or its direction may be changed ; 
it may be condensed into a smaller, or dispersed over a 
larger space. It is inflected when passing near to an- 
other body, which proves it to be subject to gravitation ; 
and it produces chemical changes in many bodies, exists 
in them in a state of combination, and may be disen- 
gaged by the exertion of new aflinities. 

Were not its particles inconceivably small, their mo- 
mentum, or the force with which they must fall on any 

* The preceding numbers are accurately calculated upon the 
position that the mean horizontal solar parallax is eight seconds of 
a degree and three-fifths, combined with micrometrical measure- 
ments of the disks of the planets at their various angular distances 
from the sun. 


body on which they may impinge, in the rapidity of 
their motion, must tear such body to pieces ; yet, says 
an accurate philosopher, Dr. Murray, it is doubtful whe- 
ther the momentum they do possess is capable of being 
ascertained by the most delicate mechanical contrivance. 
From an experiment of this kind it has been calculated, 
that the quantity of matter in the rays of light collected 
by a concave mirror of two feet in diameter, would not 
amount to more than one twelve hundred millionth part 
of a grain ! And how many particles of light must be 
in these accumulated rays ? Light is only one of the 
innumerable creatures which God has made; and yet 
this one exhibits such proofs of his eternal power and 
skill as cannot be successfully controverted. In making 
the heavens he has made this light, this most subtile, 
useful, and astonishing of all the subjects with which 
we are acquainted. What limited power, what bounded 
skill, could produce such a creation ? Had nothing else 
been created, it would have required the omnipotence 
and omniscience of God to have produced even this one ! 
"Well, then, may it be said with the prophet, " The gods 
who have not made the heavens" — who have not created 
the light, " shall perish from under these heavens." The 
nature, properties, and especially the velocity of this 
one creature, are completely demonstrative of the agency 
of a Being omnipotent and eternal ! 

5. In the skill of their arrangement. This must have 
particular reference to that principle by which the hea- 
venly bodies are influenced. This principle is termed 
gravity or attraction. Gravity, when it refers to a body 
tending to another ; and attraction, when it refers to the 
body to which the former gravitates. In the first case, 
the weight of the body seems to be the cause of its 
gravitation or descending; in the second, its descent 
seems to be the effect of an attractive power in that 


body to which it gravitates; but the principle is the 
same in both cases. Relative to this point, the five 
following positions or laws have been admitted among 
philosophers : — 

1. Gravitation takes place among the most minute 
particles of bodies. 

2. It is in proportion to the masses of all bodies. 

3. It varies inversely as the squares of the distances. 

4. It is transmitted instantaneously from one body to 

5. It acts equally on bodies in a state of rest, and on 
those which, from their motion in the direction of its 
action, should seem to avoid a part of its influence. 

The first of these positions is a necessary result of the 
equality which exists between action and re-action ; 
every particle of the earth attracting it, as the particle 
itself is attracted by it. 

The second, the proportionality of the attractive force 
to the masses, is demonstrated in the earth, by experi- 
ments on pendulums, oscillations of which are of the 
same length, of whatever substance they may be com- 
posed. And it is proved in the celestial regions, by the 
constant relation which exists between the squares of 
the periodic times of bodies revolving about a common 
focus, to the cubes of the greater axes of their orbits. 

Thirdly. That the force of gravity varies according to 
the inverse squares of the distances, is manifest from 
that state of almost absolute repose which appears in 
the perihelia of the planetary orbits. A remarkable 
property of this law is, that if the dimensions of all the 
bodies in the universe, their mutual distances and velo- 
cities, were to be augmented or diminished proportion- 
ally, they would describe curves entirely similar to those 
which they now describe ; and their appearances would 
be exactly the same. For the forces which animate 


them being entirely the result of attractions proportion- 
ate to the masses divided by the squares of the distances, 
they would be augmented and diminished proportionally 
to the dimensions of this imaginary universe. 

Fourthly. This gravity is transmitted instantaneously 
from one body to another, and from the sun to the 
whole of the system ; and this transmission, we are au- 
thorized to conclude, is made in an indivisible instant, 
to the extremities of the planetary system. But how- 
ever this may be, we have no means of measuring the 
time in which gravity is transmitted ; as the action of 
the sun has already taken place in all parts of his system. 
Nor can such action be arrested in any case, in order to 
show by experiment what time may be required for its 

As to the fifth position, it is universally evident ; nor 
has anything ever been observed to have taken place to 
intimate that this is not an absolute law, invariable and 
without exception. [See La Place.~\ All the parts of 
every body in the solar system gravitate to their centre ; 
and while each body has its own centre of gravity, to 
which all its particles gravitate, the whole planetary 
system has a common centre of gravity, to which the 
planets, satellites, and comets all tend. It is by this 
that they are all kept in their proper places, so that, in 
the trackless immensity of space, they, in their various 
revolutions, never miss their way one hair's breadth. 
Nor have the periods of their revolutions been either 
lengthened or shortened beyond certain assignable limits, 
since they were formed and projected by the hand of 
God. Here, as the wise man has said, " God has formed 
everything in number, weight, and measure" — all is in 
due proportion, in proper magnitude, and in measured 
distance; and though their relative magnitudes are 
various, yet their arrangement is such, that they can 


never come in collision with each other, nor ever miss 
their orbit. Here, then, the skill of the Creator appears 
manifest ; and thus we find, that the wisdom displayed 
in the solar system itself is a proof of the being and 
perfections of Him " who made the heavens and the 
earth," as the text intimates. 

To make this more plain, we may observe that the cen- 
tre of gravity is a point within a body, through which, 
if a plane pass, the segments on each side will be of 
equal weight. 

The common centre of gravity of two bodies is a point 
situated in the right line joining the centres of the two 
bodies, so that, if the point be suspended, the two bodies 
will equiponderate, and rest in any situation. See the 
common steel-yard. 

When any number of bodies move in right lines, with 
uniform motions, their common centre of gravity moves 
likewise in a right line with a uniform motion. And 
the sum of their motions estimated in any given direc- 
tion, is precisely the same as if all the bodies in one mass 
were carried on with the direction and motion of their 
common centre of gravity. 

Bodies moving in curve lines have what are called 
centrifugal and centripetal forces. The centrifugal force 
is that by which a projected body flies off, or endeavours 
to fly off in a straight line, without respect to gravity, to 
any resisting medium, or to any centre. The centripetal 
force is that which acts upon a projected body, drawing 
it out of a straight line, and obliging it to take a curvi- 
linear direction. All the planets are influenced by these 
two forces : and these forces must be in certain propor- 
tions, that the planets may perform their respective re- 
volutions. The centripetal force, which is the effect of 
the Sun's attraction (which constitutes the planet's gra- 
vitation), is prevented from causing the planet to fall to 


the Sun, as its centre, by the centrifugal force, or the 
quantum of projectile power impressed upon the planet 
at its creation. These two forces, by an harmonious ad- 
justment to each other, cause the planets to revolve in 
their orbits. The centripetal force will not permit the 
planet to fly off; the centrifugal force will not permit it 
to fall in. These forces God has proportioned to each, 
in reference to the distances of the planets among them- 
selves, and from the Sun, their primary ; and to the 
quantity of matter in each planet. Physically speaking, 
to make the projectile force balance the gravitating 
power so exactly, as that the body may move in a circle, 
the projectile velocity of the body must be such as it 
would have acquired by gravity alone, in falling through 
half the radius of the circle. 

But when it is considered that all the planets and 
their satellites in the solar system revolve round the 
sun, — what a prodigious attractive power must he have 
to draw them all towards himself! And what an 
amazing power must it have required to put all these 
planets into such rapid motions at first ! Amazing, in- 
deed, to us, says the enlightened Mr. Ferguson, because 
impossible to be effected by the strength of all the living 
creatures man unlimited number of worlds : but noways 
hard for the Almighty ; whose planetarium comprehends 
the universe. 

6. The final cause, or object of creation, gives equal 
proofs of the being and perfections of the Creator. 

Every intelligent artist works in reference to some 
end. Such an exertion of skill and energy as appears 
in the works of creation, must have had for its object, 
what was sufficient to justify such exertion. It is not 
enough to say, that he made all his works to show forth 
his glory. He had no need to contemplate his own 
works to be satisfied with the exertion of his power and 


wisdom. This would suppose that his gratification de- 
pended on his own work. He needs not the exertions 
of his eternal power and Godhead to minister to or 
augment his happiness ; for, although he cannot but he 
pleased with every work of his hands, as all that he has 
created is very good, yet it was not for this end ; but it 
was in reference to a great design, that they were created 
and still subsist. This design was the formation and 
eternal beatification of intelligent beings. He therefore 
made man in his own image, and in his own likeness ; 
he made him immortal, rational, and holy. He endowed 
him with intellectual powers of the most astonishing 
compass. He made him capable of knowing the Author 
of his being in the glory of his perfections, and of de- 
riving unutterable happiness from this knowledge. He 
rendered him capable of ascertaining the motions of the 
planets, and the laws by which they are governed ; ca- 
pable of numbering the stars, and weighing the sun. He 
has given him an understanding, by which he walks 
through the, heavens, and analyses every part of the globe 
that is under his feet. In a word, he has set him over 
all the works of his hands, and put all things living 
under his authority. All sheep and oxen, with what- 
soever walks through the paths of the deep. He has 
given him that knowledge which is power; by which 
both the animate and inanimate creation is brought 
under his dominion, and becomes obedient to his will. 
Such a being alone is capable of contemplating the works 
of God, and deriving the highest pleasure from this con- 
templation. The formation of such a being, even for 
this purpose, sufficiently justifies the exertions of the 
divine power and wisdom in the creation of the heavens 
and the earth. 

But we shall see this more clearly, when we consider 
the fulness of his design in the creation of man. He 


made him immortal, a transcript of his own eternity. 
He cannot wholly die — cannot be annihilated ; but must 
exist, and exist intellectually, to all eternity. He has 
made him holy, that he might be for ever capable of 
union with him who is the source and fountain of all 
purity. And his eternal happiness is to consist in his 
eternal union with this Being ; seeing him as he is, 
knowing him in his own light, and endlessly receiving 
additional degrees of knowledge and happiness out of 
his fulness. To manifest his goodness and kindness yet 
more, he has designed that man should propagate his 
own kind, and multiply on the earth for thousands of 
years. Thus, innumerable immortal spirits are brought 
into being, in reference to each of which God has the 
same gracious design. An eternal spirit, such as that of 
man, is of infinite value ; and has been justly said to be 
of more worth than the whole terraqueous globe, with all 
the suns and planets which God has formed. And if 
one such spirit outvalue all these, — of what worth must 
innumerable spirits of this kind be ! To create such 
spirits, of such powers, for such an end, demonstrates an 
infinite kindness, as well as an infinite skill ; and thus 
these works of God in their final cause, or the object of 
their creation, give demonstration of the existence and 
perfections of that Being by whom they were formed. 

It is no solid objection to this argument, that man has 
fallen from God and happiness, into sin and misery. 
This does not at all affect the design of God. The fall 
was no part of his design : he made not Death, neither 
hath pleasure in the destruction of the living. But he 
foresaw this ; and to remedy the evil, in his vast love to 
the world, God gave his only-begotten Son, to the end 
that they who believe in»him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life. And although sin has entered into the 
world, and death by sin ; in consequence of which, we 


must needs die, and are as water spilt upon the ground 
that cannot be gathered up again ; yet God hath devised 
means that his banished should not be expelled from 
him. And to accomplish this end, Jesus Christ assumed 
human nature, and by the grace of God tasted death for 
every man. He has sent his Spirit and gospel into the 
world to convince men of sin, righteousness, and judg- 
ment ; and offers a free and full salvation from sin and 
all its consequences, to every soul of man. By this dis- 
pensation of mercy and goodness, millions of millions of 
immortal spirits have already been saved ; millions more 
are now on their way to glory ; and this work shall go 
on till the earth shall be no more. All may be saved ; 
for God has not doomed a single soul to eternal perdi- 
tion; and the eternal restoration of even one of these 
immortal souls is a sufficient justification of God's work 
in the creation, while even foreseeing the lapse of man. 
Thus, the works of God give demonstration of the Being 
already described. 

Prop. III.— Creation implies conservation or provi- 
dence ; and such conservation or providence contains in 
it demonstrative proofs of the continual existence of the 
supreme first Cause. 

It is allowed on all hands, that the work of creation 
was finished and perfected at the time when it is said, 
" In the beginning God created the heavens and earth," 
when at the conclusion of the sixth day, he reviewed his 
works and pronounced them very good ; and that, since 
that time, no new being has been brought into existence, 
at least in what is called the solar system. But, to ac- 
complish the great design of God, what was made by so 
much skill, should be preserved by a continual energy, 
and a universally superintending providence. Now, to 
continue an effect, the producing cause must continue 
its energy. The stream from the fountain will not con- 


tinue to flow, unless the fountain itself supply the requi- 
site quantum of water. All effects depend on then- 
causes ; so that when the cause ceases to act, the effect 
ceases to exist. We have already taken a view of the 
motions of the celestial bodies, and the physical causes 
of those motions. But what is that gravity or attraction ? 
What are those centrifugal and centripetal forces, which 
are so strikingly evident in all the revolutions of the 
planets ? Can this gravity, whatever it may he, exist of 
itself? Can those centripetal and centrifugal forces pre- 
serve themselves with unexpended energy ? If so, they 
are not effects, they are absolute causes ; and such causes 
as must be underived and independent, and consequently 
eternal : but we have seen that no such causes can exist, 
because self-existence and independence belong to that 
Being only who is called God. Whatever therefore 
exists, must exist by and through him. Every being, 
animate or inanimate, depends on him. As he was 
their creator, so he is their preserver. And as it required 
a certain measure of power to produce them, so it re- 
quires the same measure to preserve them. Every effect 
will decrease or increase according to the decreased or 
increased action of the cause that produced them. And 
if it cease to act, though itself may remain, yet the effect 
will wholly cease to exist. Again, should the cause act 
disorderly, the effect will partake of the same. If the 
effect continue to be exactly the same, as it has always 
been known to be ; then the cause evidently acts in the 
way it has ever done; the force is the same, and the 
direction the same. Hence we find that it requires the 
same force and direction to preserve the effect, as took 
place in the beginning, where such effect became first 

This reasoning will apply to all the works of creation. 
They continue to exist, because the same power continues 


to act on them ; their order and harmony continue also 
the same, because the producing cause gives the same 
direction to each part, that it may accomplish the pur- 
pose for which he gave it being. 

But in so complicate a system as the universe, where 
a multitude of particular and special, as well as general 
ends must be accomplished, not only a preserving, but 
a specially directing power must be in continual activity. 
Hence the need of what is called providence ; or, in 
other words, God's plan of governing the universe, and 
influencing and directing all subaltern or secondary 
agents, so that they may accomplish his gracious de- 
signs, and all violence and confusion be prevented. 
Again, as much natural evil has entered into the world 
by means of moral evil, it is necessary that there should 
be everywhere present, an almighty and over-ruling pro- 
vidence, to curb and restrain the moral evil that works 
in and by the passions of men ; and to counteract, and 
in various cases suspend, the operations of certain natu- 
ral agents, which, being in a state of violence and con- 
fusion, would produce baneful effects, if left merely to 
their own energies and results. For, since the fall, the 
earth has been cursed on account of man's rebellion ; and 
in consequence, much confusion and disorder have been 
produced; and, as that rebellion continues, these dis- 
orders continue ; for, nature itself seems to arise in 
opposition to the offender. And were not the principles 
which produce storms, tempests, earthquakes, pestilence, 
and plague, counteracted, curbed, and often suspended in 
their operations ; — or, while permitted to exert them- 
selves with all their natural violence and malignity, a 
particular direction given to them that their strength 
may be expended in such a way, and in such points, as 
may be innocuous to man ; — what ruin and desolation 
vol. i. c 


would there not be in the world ! Thus, the thunder- 
storm, that might slay thousands, has rarely human life 
for its victim ; the tornado and tempest exhaust them- 
selves on the waves of the sea, or the uninhabited forest ; 
and the pestilence that walketh in darkness, is generally 
confined to the arid desert. These destructive causes, 
which exist in millions, are seldom let loose against man ; 
and though it be perfectly right that vice should be 
punished, and the vicious corrected, to show that the 
justice of God slumbereth not ; yet, in all cases, we may 
say, judgment is God's strange work, and he delighteth 
in mercy. 

Nothing is more frequently and more impressively re- 
commended in the oracles of God, than prayer. Now, 
prayer not only necessarily supposes the being of a God 
(for he that cometh unto God, must know that He is), 
but also the providence of God. For why should we 
pray to him to avert evil, if we do not acknowledge that 
he exercises a universal providence in the world ? Why 
should we pray to be preserved in and from dangers, if 
we be not convinced that he has sway everywhere, and 
that all things serve the purposes of his gracious will ? 
And why should men in every plaice, who pray and make 
supplication, expect to be heard, unless it be an incon- 
trovertible truth, that God is omnipotent, and that he 
can and will so interfere with, and interpose in, the mat- 
ters that concern them. And should evil be coming against 
them in direct course, he can divert it from that course, 
so that it shall pass them by, or, averting it, turn it 
entirely back, so that it shall have no operation near 
them ; or, if he permit it to come on, convert it to their 
great spiritual advantage, by counterworking the bad 
effects which it would otherwise produce, and thus by 
his providence (in answer to their prayers), working to- 


gether with his grace, cause all those things which would 
otherwise be mischievous, to work for their present good 
and future happiness. 

That God has general laws by which he governs the 
universe, I am fully aware ; I see them through uni- 
versal nature: and that he has a general providence 
suited to those laws, I equally believe : but, as all gene- 
rals imply the particulars of which they are composed, 
so I believe God has his particular laws ; and, suited to 
them, his particular providence, adapted to every occur- 
rence, and applicable to all possible varieties of persons, 
place, and circumstance ; that nothing can occur to which 
he cannot adapt a particular influence, by which that 
occurrence shall be so directed, or counteracted, as to 
prevent the evil, and produce the necessary good. 

And should there be occurrences which appear to be 
under the control of no particular laws, and should there 
be no natural means to meet such occurrences, guide 
their operation, or direct their mal-influence ; so sove- 
reign is he, that without laws and means, he can, by the 
omninc volitions of his own mind, counterwork the evil, 
and produce the good. And this he is constantly doing, 
in numberless cases, in answer to prayer. And indeed 
every answer to prayer is a proof as well of this parti- 
cular and especial providence, as of his innate and eter- 
nal goodness. 

I conclude, therefore, that the conservation and go- 
vernment of all things by the power and providence of 
God, are proofs of his continual being, and most bene- 
ficent agency. And though the acts of providence are 
not creative but conservative acts, and nothing new has 
been added since the creation of the world ; yet so has 
this providence operated, that nothing has been lost of all 
that his power has produced ; and everything continues 
by this gracious superintendence to answer the same 

c 2 


design, which at the beginning was conceived in his own 
infinite mind. 

, Prop. IV. That, as life, breath, and all things come 
from and depend on such a Being, every intelligent crea- 
ture should give him adoration and worship. 

Having already proved that there is an infinite and 
eternal Being, the first cause or creator of all things ; it 
follows necessarily that all animate and inanimate beings 
derive their existence from him, and are dependant upon 
him. Life is his gift, and flows from him ; he is repre- 
sented as inspiring the very breath of all animal beings 
and endowing them with those principles by which, as 
means, those beings are preserved. He has adapted the 
lungs for respiration, and has given the air to inflate 
them. All motion, voluntary or involuntary, proceeds 
from him ; and by his continued energy the existence 
of every being is preserved. In him rve live, move, and 
have our being, is a truth which cannot be successfully 
disputed. Every state of being has its proper attributes, 
and every kind of being its peculiar privileges. Each, 
in proportion to the powers and perfections with which 
it is endowed, and the necessities of its state, shares the 
solicitude and attention of its Maker. Man, who ap- 
pears at the head of the creation, is distinguished by a; 
variety of peculiar privileges. On him, the most affec- 
tionate regards of his God seem to be concentrated : the 
condescending goodness of the Divine Being towards 
man has filled reflecting minds with astonishment and 
gratitude : " What is man, that thou shouldest magnify 
him?" says Job, "that thou shouldest set thine heart 
upon him ? and that thou shouldest visit him every morn- 
ing, and try him every moment?" chap. vii. 17, 18. 
" Thou hast," says David, " made him a little lower than 
the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and ho- 
nour; thou madest him to have dominion over the works 


cf thy hands ; thou hast put all things under his feet : 
the sheep, the oxen, the beasts of the fields, the fowls 
of the air, and the fish of the sea," Ps. viii. 5 — 8. All 
this shows him to be God's vicegerent upon earth ; which 
is the highest honour he can possibly possess previously 
to his being raised incorruptible, and placed on the 
throne of his Lord and Saviour : — " To him that over- 
cometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even 
as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in 
his throne," Rev. iii. 21. 

By right of sovereignty, such a Being demands the 
homage of his intelligent creatures ; but man, in a pecu- 
liar manner, by virtue of obligation and gratitude, should 
render this to his Maker, his Preserver, and his Re- 
deemer ; — obligation, the utmost man can receive ; and 
the greatest that even God himself can confer ; the gift 
of his Son, and through him, the throne of his glory 

The proposition states, that " every intelligent creature 
should give such a Being adoration and worship." 

1. By adoration, we are to understand that reverence 
that is due to the highest and best of Beings. The ori- 
ginal word, adoratw, signifies that act of religious wor- 
ship which was expressed by lifting the hand to the 
mouth, and kissing it, in token of the highest esteem, 
and the most profound reverence and subjection. It im- 
plies a proper contemplation of his excellencies, so as to 
excite wonder and admiration ; and of his goodness and 
bounty, so as to impress us with the liveliest sense of his 
ineffable goodness to us, and our deep unworthiness. It 
implies the deepest awe of his Divine Majesty, while 
even approaching him with the strongest sensations of 
filial piety; a trembling before him, while rejoicing in 
him ; the greatest circumspection in every act of religi- 
ous worship ; the mind wholly engrossed with the object, 
while the heart is found in the deepest prostration at his 


feet. The soul abstracted from every outward thing- 
no thought indulged, but what relates to the act of wor- 
ship in which we are engaged ; nor a word uttered in 
prayer or praise, the meaning of which is not felt by the 
heart ; no unworthy conception of such a Majesty per- 
mitted to arise in the mind, the same worshipping in 
spirit and in truth. No carelessness of manner, no bold- 
ness of expression permitted to appear — the body pro- 
strated, while the soul, in all its powers and faculties, 
adores. No lip-service, no animal labour allowed to take 
place. Nothing felt, nothing seen, but the supreme God, 
and the soul made by his hand, and redeemed by his 

2. Worship, or worthship, implies, that proper con- 
ception we should have of God, as the great Governor 
of heaven and earth, of angels and men. How worthy 
he is in his nature, and in the administration of his go- 
vernment, of the highest praises we can offer, and of the 
best services we can render! Every act we perform 
should bear testimony to the sense we have of the ex- 
cellence of his majesty, and the worthiness of his acts. 
Speak, Lord! thy servant heareth, is the language of 
the true worshipper ; — he seeks to know the will of his 
Lord, that he may do that will. Every prayer is offered 
up in the spirit of subjection and obedience ; and in the 
deepest humility he waits to receive the commands of 
his heavenly Master, and the power to fulfil them. He 
feels that he cannot choose : — he knows that his Lord 
cannot err. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven, 
is not an unmeaning petition while proceeding from his 
mouth. His soul feels it — his heart desires it. Obedi- 
ence is the element in which his soul lives, and in which 
it thrives, and increases in happiness. In his sight God 
is worthy of all glory and praise, and dominion, and 
power, because he is not only the fountain of being, but 


also the source of mercy. He waits on his God ; and he 
finds that this God waits to be gracious to him. He 
finds also that this God who is his friend, condescends 
to he his companion through life : therefore his heart is 
fixed ; nor is he afraid of any evil tidings, for he trusts 
in the name of the Lord. He draws nigh to God in 
every act of worship, and has communion with the Fa- 
ther and the Son, through the Holy Ghost. He is kept, 
in perfect peace, for his mind is stayed upon God, because 
he trusts in him. All his- powers are sensible of this 
truth — Thou God seest me : and his experience proves 
that God is the rewarder of them that diligently seek 
him. In such persons, Jesus sees the travail of his soul, 
and is satisfied. But, oh, how far are Christians in gene- 
ral from this adoration and worship ! All acknowledge 
that there is a God ; all acknowledge that this God is, 
as is before described : — but who worships him aright ? 
"We have the language of praise, and the language of 
prayer, but who has the spirit of these duties ? In most 
solemn assemblies, how little of the spirit of this devo- 
tion is found ? "We are struck with anything but God ; 
and feel anything but his presence. We do not wor- 
ship him aright, and therefore we know little of his 
power to save. Oh, when will it be that man shall live 
in commerce Avith his Maker, and in every act of adora- 
tion and worship, receive the end of his faith, the salva- 
tion of his soul ! — However this may be, the conclusion 
is indisputable, that " seeing life, breath, and all things 
come from, and depend on Him ; every intelligent crea- 
ture should give him adoration and worship." 


This verse may be considered as a prophetic declara- 
tion of the total and final destruction of idolatry through - 


out the habitable globe. It may be assumed by every 
Christian missionary, as his message from God to every 
heathen nation. — He may ask, Who are your gods? 
What are their attributes ? Where do they exist ? 
What evidence have you that they have any being? 
Can you suppose that these stocks and stones are either 
eternal beings, or worthy representations of such beings ? 
What history have you of their lives and actions ? Of 
what authority are those histories ? Do the actions they 
record bear any semblance to the acts of beings worthy 
of adoration and praise ? When you have offered prayers 
to them, have they heard you? Have they delivered 
you, when in trouble ? Have they saved you from your 
sins ? Have they changed your hearts ? Have they re- 
moved your evil tempers, and saved you from your de- 
grading and brutish lusts ? By preaching or believing 
their doctrines, is any man made wiser or better ? Do 
you think that these logs of wood, masses of stone, and 
uncouth forms of metal, ever made the heavens and the 
earth ? Or that they represent any such beings ? Speak ! 
— We despise and defy them. — If they be gods, let them 
arise and plead their own cause. — Let them do good or 
evil, that we may see that they have an existence. They 
do nothing — they can do nothing. They are neither 
worthy of fear nor adoration. They are senseless ; and 
they that made them, are like unto them ; and so are 
all they that trust in them. They are neither creators 
nor preservers. — Therefore, they shall perish from the 
earth, and be destroyed from under these heavens. 

Never was there a time since the commencement of 
idolatry in which this declaration was in such a rapid 
state of fulfilment. Under the missionary system, whole 
nations have changed or cast away their gods. In almost 
every part of the globe, and island of the sea, Christian 
missionaries are proclaiming the God that made the hea- 


reus and tlie earth, and the Christ that redeemed a lout 
world by his blood : and false gods and false worship are 
falling before them. With the truth of God, civilization 
and happiness go hand in hand ; — the savage is rising 
into man, and the man into a saint. Darkness and 
cruelty, the inseparable concomitants of idolatry and 
false worship, are retreating from one strong hold to an- 
other, and are able to maintain themselves in none. 
The decree is gone forth. The Most High has pro- 
claimed, — " Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that 
have not made the heavens and the earth, they shall 
perish from the earth, and from under these heavens." 
Hallelujah ! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth ! 

London, Sept. 6, 1826. 




John iv. 24. 

Tlvtvfia 6 Beog' km tovq •ngoaKwovvTag avTov, tv irvivjxciTi icai 
a\>)0£i^ fiti TrpoiTKvvuv. 

"God is a Spirit; and they that worship him must worship in 
spirit and in truth." 

To which may be added, from the preceding verse : — 
Kai yap 6 Ilar»jp toiovtovq ?,i]TU tovq TrpooKwovvrag avrov. 
" For the Father seeketh such to worship Him." 

This is the first, the greatest, the most sublime, and 
the most necessary truth that can be presented to the 
human intellect. It is the basis of all correct theology, 
and the foundation on which true religion rests. It is 
properly the first principle of all science, the most inte- 
resting to angels and men, and the first to be studied by 
every intellectual being. Superior to this, wisdom has 
nothing to teach; and more important than this, men 
and angels have nothing to learn. It has no need of 
any formal introduction ; and to compare its magnitude 
and importance with any other subject in the whole 
compass of knowledge, would be to lessen and degrade 


it. As the truth it contains could be taught only by 
Him who is its subject, so it can be seen only in its own 
light. The careless and the vicious cannot apprehend 
it j from such alone it is hidden; but the wayfaring 
man, though a fool, cannot err in it ; for though hidden 
from the wise and prudent, it is revealed even to babes. 
This great subject, as expressed in the text, contains 
two distinct propositions : the first relates to God and 
his nature ; the second, to the worship he requires : 
from which follows a corollary. 

I. God is a Spirit, and should be worshipped. 

II. They who worship him must worship in spirit 
and in truth. 

III. The Corollary ; such worshippers God seeks and 
delights in. 

I. God is a Spirit. 

The writer of this gospel in another place says, " No 
man hath seen God at any time : the only-begotten Son, 
which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared 
him," chap. i. 18. 

The evangelist seems to intimate, that, previously to 
the advent of Christ, the supreme Being was not fully 
known, because not fully revealed ; and that Jesus gave 
that plenary revelation which was necessary to complete 
and perfect whatever had gone before. Now, simple 
and obvious as it may seem, have we in the whole 
oracles of God besides a parallel text to this ? "Where, 
except in our text, is this saying, or one substantially 
the same, God is a Spirit ? It is not in the lam, it is 
not in the prophets, it is not in the Jewish commenta- 
tors, and it has no parallel among the wise men of 
Greece or Rome. It is a declaration of God that was 
never made before, and contains an application or prac- 
tical use of that declaration which, till now, was not 
fully understood, either by Jew or Gentile. On this 


saying the pure spiritual fabric of the church of Christ 
has been built ; and it has been, continues, and will be 
the touchstone by which true from spurious Christianity, 
pure from corrupt worship, shall be distinguished, to the 
end of time. It has distinguished the simple worship 
of God, as instituted by Jesus Christ, from that com- 
pound and superstitious service which has been invented 
by fallen and apostate churches, and practised by worldly 
and carnally-minded men. It is the hedge of the evan- 
gelical law ; and the true model, according to which all 
right conceptions of God, and all ordinances and acts of 
divine worship, are to be regulated. This is one of 
those sayings of Jesus Christ, of which it may be as- 
serted, " Never man spake like this Man." 

"When our Lord says, God is a Spirit, the term God 
is the first that presents itself to the mind, not the term 
Spirit. The first is considered as an axiom — there is a 
Being who is termed b Qioq, God ; the second designates 
his nature; this God is a Spirit. The term God, of 
which the other is spoken, is that which necessarily 
comes first under consideration. 

1. Every being, person, or thing has some peculiar 
name by which it is known and distinguished, and 
which is therefore essential to that being, person, or 
thing. The term God, which is the same as good, or 
the good Being, is not the name by which this Being- 
can be essentially known and distinguished; nor does 
the Greek term etog Tkeos, the Latiu Deus, or the He- 
brew ba El, rrht< Eloah, or dyiVn Elohim, convey this 
essentially distinguishing name ; but we have it in what 
has usually been termed the Tetragrammaton among the 
Greeks, the name of four letters ; and Shem hamphorash, 
the unutterable name, among the Jews ; viz., the name 
-nrv Yehveh, or Yeve, or Jehovah. This is the name 
which the Supreme Being has taken to himself — the 


name by which he will be known, and which only is 
proper to him ; all others being only attributes or desig- 
nations of some qualities or perfections in the divine 

2. This name, Jehovah, God himself says, is his name 
for ever, and his memorial to all generations, Exod. iii. 
15. Though he had appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob under other names, such as God Almighty, yet by 
his name Jehovah he had not been known unto them, 
Exod. vi. 3 ; they had not known the Supreme Being 
by a name which was peculiarly his own, and which, 
beyond all others, best expressed his eternity, self-exist- 
ence, and self-sufficiency. He is what he ever was, and 
what he ever will be ; and he ever will be what he is 
and was. This name is therefore proper to himself; it 
shows him in no kind of relation to anything he has 
made, and is as proper to him as Adam or man is to the 
human being, or any man's own proper name is to him- 
self. This is a subject of considerable importance ; and 
coxild we know the true pronunciation of the Tetra- 
grammaton, it would be pleasing to hear all his children 
and all his worshippers accosting him by his real name. 

3. This Being, by whatsoever name called or known, 
is usually defined " An immaterial, intelligent, and free 
Being, of perfect goodness, wisdom, and power ; who 
made the universe, and continues to support it, as well 
as to govern and direct it by his providence." By his 
immateriality, intelligence, and freedom, he is distin- 
guished from fate, nature, destiny, necessity, chance, 
soul-of-the-world, and from other fictitious beings ac- 
knowledged by the Stoics, Polytheists, and Spinosists, as 
well as by all other sorts of atheists, idolaters, bad 
Jews, and spurious Christians. [_See the preceding Dis- 

4. This Jehovah is a Being of such infinite perfec- 


tions, that no defect in him can be imagined ; nor can 
we conceive anything that might raise, improve, or exalt 
his nature. Because he is an infinite fulness, nothing 
can be added ; and because he fills all space — the hea- 
vens and the earth, and inhabits eternity — nothing can 
be taken away from him. Whatever exists must neces- 
sarily be his creature, or an effect produced by him, the 
supreme first Cause. As he is independent and self- 
sufficient, he needs nothing that he has made : from 
eternity he existed without any other kind of being; 
and when he chose to create innumerable beings, of 
endlessly varied natures, and possessing various degrees 
of relative perfection, he still continued to be the same 
independent Being, all others deriving their existence 
and support from him. 

5. A great philosopher of our own country contem- 
plates God, not as is usually done, from his perfections, 
his nature, existence, &c, but from his dominion. The 
word God he thinks to be a relative term, and has re- 
gard to servants. It is true, it is used to denote a being 
eternal, infinite, and absolutely perfect; but a being 
with all these attributes, without dominion, would not 
be God. Lord and God are frequently interchanged ; 
but every Lord is not God. It is the dominion of a 
spiritual being or Lord that constitutes God ; true domi- 
nion, trice God ; supreme dominion, the supreme God ; 
feigned dominion, the false god. He governs all things 
that exist, and knows all things that are to be known : 
he is not eternity nor infinity, but he is eternal and in- 
finite. He is not duration nor space ; but he endures 
always, is present everywhere ; and by existing always 
and everywhere, he constitutes the very things duration 
and space; eternity and infinity. [See the preceding 

6. This self-existent Being is usually considered either 


absolutely or relatively ; absolutely, as he is in bis own 
nature ; relatively, as be stands related to bis creatures, 
and as he is considered by bis worshippers. To define 
the essence of this Being is wholly impossible. All 
definitions of God are nominal, not real ; not what the 
nature of that self-existent Being is which we call God, 
but what we mean by the word God. 

7- Every worshipper of God allows that be worships 
that self-existent Being, for no other reason but because 
he is God ; that is, because he is Lord and Sovereign. 
A perfect being, without dominion, would be only an 
object of contemplation and admiration, not of worship ; 
for worship implies a payment of homage, and acknow- 
ledgment of subjection, which, were there no dominion, 
cannot be due; and is due only in proportion to the 
dominion. The holiness, power, and goodness of the 
divine nature, are the attributes which the mind particu- 
larly contemplates, in all its considerations of this self- 
existent and eternal Being. 

8. But to assist us in all such contemplations, and to 
prevent us from forming any gross conceptions of this 
Being, our Lord says, He is a Spirit. He is nothing 
like man, nothing like matter, nothing like any of the 
creatures that be has made. For although he be a 
Spirit, and have created innumerable spirits, yet he 
has nothing in common with them. He is a Spirit, an 
impalpable substance of a widely different kind. As 
far as his nature transcends all created nature, so tar 
does his spirituabty transcend the spirituality of all 
created spirits. 

9. Spirit is defined "an uncompounded, immaterial 
substance." Let us not be alarmed at the word sub- 
stance, which many confound with matter. Substance 
is subsistence, whether material or immaterial ; but spirit 
is immaterial substance, and consequently uncompounded 


and indivisible. And from the ineffable spirituality of 
the divine nature, we can at once conceive that he has 
no parts: he is unlimited, infinite, and eternal. He 
cannot be seen by the eye, but he may be perceived by 
the mind. He is not palpable to the hand, but he may 
be felt by the soul. By his mighty working, the most 
powerful and salutary changes may be wrought in the 
mind, which it at once perceives to be supernatural, and 
which, from the holiness of the effects, it knows to be 
the work of God. This mental feeling or perception of 
the divine working our Lord compares to the action of 
the wind: "The wind bloweth where it listeth; ye 
hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell whence it cometh, 
and whither it goeth ; so is every one that is born of 
the Spirit," John iii. 8. Thus the mind, which is a 
spirit, is sensible of the operations of the divine Spirit 
upon it ; but it is the effect of the divine influence, and 
not the divine nature, that the soul feels. God is never 
known per se, but is perceived only by his operations. 

10. The Jews were gross in their conceptions of the 
divine nature, and the Samaritans were yet more so. 
The former supposed that God could not be worshipped 
but at Jerusalem, and with no other rites and ceremonies 
than those commanded by the law, and superadded by 
the elders : the Samaritans, without any correct idea of 
this nature, for they worshipped they knew not what, 
confounded him with idols, and paid him an idolatrous 
worship : to instruct and correct both, Christ tells them 
that God is a Spirit; that neither in that mountain 
(Gerizzim), nor yet at Jerusalem, the Father should be 
exclusively worshipped ; but the true worshippers, who 
worshipped in spirit and in truth, should worship God 
acceptably in any place and in all circumstances. 

11. But though our Lord might intend by this decla- 
ration to wean off the Jews from their superstitious 


attachment to rites and ceremonies, in the performance 
of which they placed all their hopes of God's favour, 
both in time and eternity, yet it is probable that the 
principal idea which he wished to implant, and which 
he wished to convey by the term spirit, as applied to 
God, was that of inspiring energy ; and it is in reference 
to this that he uses the similitude taken from the wind, 
referred to above. And it is worthy of remark, that the 
word, as expressed in tbree of the principal languages of 
the world, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, implies and in- 
cludes in it the idea of inspiration, breathing in, or 
communicating a divine afflatus. I call these the prin- 
cipal languages of the universe, as the first contains the 
revelation of God to the Jews ; the second, the revela- 
tion of God to the Gentiles ; and in the third, the doc- 
trines of divine revelation were most generally diffused, 
especially through Europe and the isles of the sea. 

12. The word in Hebrew for Spirit is nn ruach, from 
nn ravack, " he breathed." 

In Greek it is Trvivfia, from 7rv£a>, " to breathe." 
And in Latin, Spiritus, from spiro, " I breathe." 
And it is not less remarkable, that where God is as- 
serting his own eternity, Rev. i. 8, he says, "I am 
Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending ; which 
is, and which was, and is to come, the Almighty." And 
this he repeats, ver. 11, and in chap. xxi. 6, and xxii. 
13. As these letters, A and Q, alpha and omega, form 
the first and last of the Greek alphabet, so God is the 
first and the last, from eternity to eternity ; and is an 
infinite Spirit, inspiring and giving life to all things ; for 
these two letters conjoined form the Greek verb ao>, " I 
breathe," and are used by the supreme Being, as if he 
had said, " I am the universal Spirit, speaking all things 
into existence, and by my all-inspiring energy preserving 
everything in being." And when these observations are 


collated with the account given in Gen. ii. 7, of the 
creation of man : " And the Lord God formed man out 
of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils 
the breath of lives, and man became a living soul ;" we 
shall be convinced yet more of their propriety. The 
first life was produced by an inspiration of God; the 
first human soul was the effect of this inspiration ; and 
the inspiring energy of God, which produced this im- 
mortal spirit, continues to sustain its existence. And 
that new life which is promised in the gospel, is the 
effect also of divine inspiration ; for " if a man be not 
born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom 
of God." "And because ye are sons, God hath sent 
forth the spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, 
Father." Of the nature and necessity of such a change, 
this most important saying of Jesus Christ puts us con- 
tinually in mind : — God is a Spirit ; in him ye live, 
move, and have your being ; by his Spirit ye are quick- 
ened ; and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth under- 
standing ! God, therefore, assumes this character, not 
only to show his simple, uncompounded nature, and his 
all-pervading energy ; but especially to manifest himself 
to man as the inspirer and maintainer of life, that men 
might know they must live in continual commerce with 
their Maker, and that without him they can do nothing. 
Well may the truly devout say : — 

" O, may I breathe no longer than I breathe 
My soul to him, who gave my soul to be ; 
With all its infinite of prospect fair." 

II. The second proposition is, They who worship him 
must worship in spirit and truth. 

This divides itself into two heads : First, The worship 
must be a spiritual worship. Secondly, It must be re 
gulated according to truth. 


First, It must be spiritual ; under the law there were 
many carnal ordinances — a very extensive and expensive 
sacrificial system, accompanied by various workings and 
a multitude of burdensome rites and ceremonies ; these 
were only representations of good things to come, and 
were not the truth. Our Lord therefore may intimate 
by this saying, that the Mosaic dispensation was about 
to end, and that of his gospel to take place, in which all 
types and ceremonies were to have their accomplish- 
ment, because the truth represented by them was now 

The worship itself must be spiritual ; performed under 
the guidance and inspiration of the Spirit of the Al- 

The heart must be engaged in it ; without which no 
religious act can be acceptable in the sight of God. 
Those who draw near with their lips only are an abomi- 
nation to him. But before we proceed farther in this 
consideration, it will be necessary to define the term 
worship, in order to see what is intended by it. 

1. The word worship we retain from our ancient 
mother tongue, the Saxon, porifcrhip., worthship, the state 
of worth, from peojiSian, to estimate ; what is becoming 
and worthy — what is suitable to the dignity, majesty, 
and purity of the Creator. The mind must conceive 
aright of him, estimate him in his excellence, in his 
state of worth or dignity, as being infinitely excellent, 
and so, worthy of the adoration of all his creatures. 
And without this due conception, this proper estimation 
of the dignity of the divine nature, all our acts of worship 
are mockeries. 

2. The word ttqookvviiv proskunein, used by our Lord, 
signifies to crouch down as a dog before his master. 
This creature, beyond all other domestic animals, feels 
his dependance on his master for support, and gratitude 


to him for food and maintenance. "When called by his 
owner, he runs to and prostrates himself before him ; and, 
with eyes full of inexpressible earnestness, affection, and 
submission, waits to receive and execute the orders of 
his master. This is, so far, a true pattern of the worship 
we owe to God ; it should be humble, submissive, affec- 
tionate, prompt, and obedient. A consciousness of de- 
pendance — gratitude, for favours received — love, in return 
for love — and obedience, as expressive of that love and 
obligation — are essential to true worship. But these are 
feelings and dispositions which cannot be acquired by 
any without the divine inspiration. 

3. In spirit, therefore, does not merely imply that our 
hearts and souls must be engaged in every act of worship, 
but it intimates also that these souls must be themselves 
inspired by the breath of the Almighty. His spirit alone 
can enlighten our eyes, give us to feel our necessities, 
raise up strong desires and affections, and lead us to 
adore worthily, pray fervently, praise gratefully, and obey 
lovingly ; without me, says Jesus, ye can do nothing ; and 
when the natural backwardness of man to all spiritual 
exertions is considered — when his general forgetfulness 
of God, and rebellion against him, are taken into ques- 
tion, — how can it be expected that such a creature, with 
such dispositions, can ever offer to God a pure and holy 
worship, without the especial and continual influences of 
his Holy Spirit ! 

4. In spirit, must necessarily be opposed to that shame- 
less farrago of senseless rites and ceremonies, by which 
some apostate or fallen churches have encumbered and 
disgraced the church of Christ. The Greek and Roman 
churches have each contributed their mortal share to the 
contamination of the pure worship of God. Saints and 
angels, — in the numerous hosts of which are many names 
of saints never sanctified, and of angels never created, — 


have engrossed the affections, while they have distracted 
the attention of millions of silly men and women, who, 
leaving the word of God, have taken for divine revela- 
tions, the commandments of men ; and thus, have made 
the word of God of no effect by their traditions. There is 
scarcely a place of worship on the whole continent of 
Europe where a person, who has properly contemplated 
the divine nature, and is acquainted with his Bible, can 
witness an act of worship worthy the. Majesty of God, 
or any religious acts that can be termed a reasonable 
service. The Church of Rome, especially, in every 
country where it either prevails or exists, has so blended 
a pretended Christian devotion with heathenish and 
Jewish rites and ceremonies; two parts of which are 
borrowed from pagan Rome ; the third, from the Jewish 
ritual, ill understood, and grossly misrepresented ; and the 
fourth part, from other corruptions of the Christian system. 
Nor is the Protestant Church yet fully freed from a 
variety of matters in public worship which savour little 
of that simplicity and spirituality which should ever 
designate the worship of that infinitely pure Spirit who 
cannot be pleased with anything incorporated with his 
worship that has not been prescribed by himself, and has 
not a direct tendency to lead the heart from earth and 
sensual things to heaven, and that holiness, without 
which none shall see the Lord. The singing, as it is 
practised in several places, and the heathenish accom- 
paniments of organs and musical instruments of various 
sorts, are as contrary to the simplicity of the gospel, and 
the spirituality of that worship which God requires, as 
darkness is contrary to light, And if these abuses are 
not corrected, I believe the time is not far distant when 
singing will cease to be a part of the divine worship. 
It is now, in many places, such as cannot be said to be 


any part of that worship which is in spirit and according 
to truth. May God mend it ! 

The second head contained in this proposition is, — 
This infinite Spirit should be worshipped in truth. 

We hare already seen that this may be considered as 
partly applying to the cessation of Mosaic rites and cere- 
monies, which were shadowy representations of the 
Truth that was to be fully revealed under the gospel 
dispensation. But truth here must have a farther mean- 
ing. It is not merely sincerity, in opposition to show 
and hypocrisy — meaning what we say, and doing what 
we promise — but it implies also the directions received 
from God's truth — Divine Revelation ; which on this 
most important subject tells us, " There is no name given 
under heaven among men, whereby they can be saved, 
but Jesus Christ;" and the voice from heaven says, 
" This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : 
hear him !" Now, when we hear him, we hear — " No 
man cometh unto the Father, but by me ;" and " What- 
soever ye ask of the Father in my name, he will give 
it unto you." Hence we learn, that all worship must be 
directed to God through Christ. It is through his wor- 
thiness, and sacrificial merit alone, that we can come to 
God, or be heard by him. It is through his blood that 
we have an entrance to the holiest ; for in, or through 
that blood, we have redemption; and to be redeemed 
from death, and saved from our sins, is the grand end of 
all acts of religious worship. Never were words better 
calculated to express this sentiment than those in the 
following collect: "Blessed Lord, who hast caused all 
Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that 
we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and 
inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of 
thy Holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the 


blessed hope of everlasting life which thou hast given us 
in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen." Without prayer 
there can be no worship ; as no man can expect to receive 
spiritual help, unless he pray for it ; and if he receive 
not spiritual help, he cannot worship God in the spirit. 
And we may add, unless he acquaint, himself well with 
the truth — the Holy Scriptures, he cannot pray as he 
ought ; as without their direction, he cannot know his 
wants, nor those promises which insure the blessings 
which he needs ; he must, therefore, at all opportunities, 
hear them read, preached, and expounded ; read them 
himself with the deepest attention and seriousness ; 
mark every portion that is suited to his state, whether it 
be a threatening or a promise ; learn to know himself, 
his God, and his Redeemer, his interest and his duty, 
by all such hearing, reading, and marking ; and he must 
inwardly digest the whole, so that they shall become a 
species of nourishment to his soul, that he may grow in 
grace, and in the knowledge of his Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ ; and feeling a growing meetness for that 
eternal life promised in the Scriptures, he may embrace 
it, and ever hold it fast, that he may never be moved 
away from the hope of the gospel. Being thus always 
prepared, he may wait upon the Lord without distrac- 
tion ; and under the influence of the Spirit, and the 
direction of the Truth, worship the Lord in the beauty 
of holiness. 

III. Corollary. These alone can worship God ac- 
ceptably ; and our Lord adds, " For the Father seeketh 
such to worship him." Strange words ! This unori- 
ginated, infinite, self-sufficient, all-perfect, and indepen- 
dent Spirit, calls himself our Father, teaches us to pray 
to him under this character, with the most gracious assu- 
rances that we shall not pray in vain. He calls himself 


our Father, to encourage us to come to him for all the 
good we need. Prayer is a part of the worship which 
God expects from his human creatures. " Ask (says 
he), and you shall receive ; seek (says he), and you 
shall find ; knock (he adds), and it shall be opened unto 
you." This is the voice of a Father. Now, would any 
man that had the heart of a parent give his hungry 
dying child a stone, when he asked for bread ? would he 
give him a serpent, when he asked for fish ? or would 
he give him a scorpion, when he entreated for an egg ? 
surely no ! And would God, the Father of the spirits 
of all flesh, do otherwise ? His word says, no ; His 
Spirit says, no ; His Church says, no ; and his own 
eternal and loving nature says, no. God the Father will, 
for Christ's sake, for his own Name's sake, and for his 
Truth's sake, give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. 
Have not the fathers of our flesh cared for us, laboured 
for us, fed us, clothed us, instructed us, and defended us ? 
Have they not even risked their lives for us ! And what 
will not our heavenly Father do ? Is it not from Him 
that all love, all bounty, all affection, all parental ten- 
derness proceed ? And when the streamlets are so abun- 
dant, what may not be expected from the fountain — 
rather from the shoreless, bottomless, inexhaustible ocean 
— of eternal love ! He is seeking for those who pray 
and adore, seeking for an opportunity to do them good, 
seeking to save them, to pardon, sanctify, and seal them 
heirs of eternal life. He is seeking for those who pray 
and adore ; but where does he find them ? Are you who 
read such ? Does God, who searches and knows the 
heart, see in you the ardent sigh, the humble importu- 
nate petition, the flowing tear, the penitential pang, the 
hungering and thirsting after righteousness ? Does he 
hear from each of you the expression of the whole of 


these indescribable feelings, — " Save, Lord, or I perish !" 
" Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee !" " Lord, 
be merciful to me a sinner !" Then, he that was seeking 
has found you ; you are the worshippers whom he has 
sought ; and he is now come to save you with all the 
power of an eternal life. Let us adore him for his past 
long-suffering ; let us ever implore him for his mercy ; 
let us thank him for his past favours ; and let us live a 
life of loving obedience to him here, that we may live 
with and praise him for ever and ever ! Amen. 

Let us for a few moments review the whole. 

1. There is a God, the Cause of all things, the Foun- 
tain of all perfection, and the Source of all being ; without 
parts or dimensions, for he is eternal ; filling the heavens 
and the earth, pervading, governing, and upholding all 
things, for he is an infinite spirit. 

2. This God can be pleased with that only which re- 
sembles himself; therefore, he must hate sin and sin- 
fulness; and can delight in those only who are made 
partakers of the divine nature. And he alone is the 
great inspirer of the human soul. 

3. As all creatures were made by him, so all owe to 
him reverence and obedience. But to be acceptable to 
this pure and infinitely wise and holy Spirit, the worship 
which is offered must be of a spiritual nature ; must 
spring from the heart, through the influence of the Holy 
Ghost ; and it must be in truth ; not only in sincerity, 
but performed according to that Divine Revelation which 
he has given of himself to man. 

4. A man worships God when he conceives aright of 
his majesty and of his mercy. He worships him in 
spirit, when, under the influences of the Holy Ghost, he 
brings his understanding to be illuminated, his judgment 

VOL. I. d 


to be informed and corrected, his will to be influenced, 
all the purposes and passions of his heart to be refined 
and purified ; and he worships him in truth, when every 
act of his religious life is guided and regulated by his 
word. They who thus worship God are pleasing to him, 
live holily and happily, die triumphantly, and shall rise 
and reign with him gloriously to all eternity. 

Reader, This is the portion which God in Christ has 
intended for thee ! 



Galatians iv. 4—7. 

4. 'Ore St i)\9e to Tr\r)p<i>fia tov xqovov, t^airtartiKiv b Qiog tov 

v'iov avrov yivofitvov ek yvvaiKog, yivofttvov into vofiov 

5. Iva tovq viro vofiov eZayopaori, iva Tr\v vioQioiav airo\a- 


6. 'On Si tart vloi, i'£cnnortCktv 6 Otog to nvtv/xa tov Yiou 

avrov ug rag KapSiag v/iojv, Kpa^ov, A/3/3a, 'O Ilarjjp. 

7. 'pare owe en a SovXog, aW vlog' u Se viog, Kai (cXj/poj'Ojttoj 

Gfou Sia XpiOTOv. 

4. But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his 

Son, made of a woman, made under the Law ; 

5. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive 

the adoption of sons. 

6. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his 

Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 

7. Wherefore, thou art no more a servant, but a son ; and if a son 

then an heir of God through Christ. 

The observations which I am about to make upon 
these very important passages, I shall introduce with the 
three following propositions, which have acquired the 
power of incontrovertible axioms among religious people, 

I. God is too wise to err. 

II. He is too holy to do wrong. 

III. He is too good to be unkind. 

I. His wisdom is seen in the order and arrangement 
of his plans. Confusion is the offspring of folly : order 

d 2 


belongs to wisdom, and invariably proceeds from it. 
Hence, every work of wisdom must be properly planned, 
and have proper time for its commencement, and proper 
place for its establishment. Previously to creation there 
were neither time nor space ; for time signifies measured 
and limited duration, and space signifies that in which 
time has its admeasurement and limitation, and the 
place in which created beings exist. 

Time and space are properly consequences of creation, 
and could not previously have existed. All was eternity, 
and this was inhabited by God. The revolutions of the 
heavenly bodies ascertained time ; the place where created 
beings exist is space. Without a creation we can have 
no idea of time ; without created beings we can have no 
proper idea of space : for what is unlimited space, and 
what is infinite duration, but eternity ? 

Mr. Locke and others say, " We acquire the idea of 
time in general, by considering any part of infinite dura- 
tion as set out by periodical measures :" but what parts 
can infinite duration have ? We must have the idea of 
time, before we can form any conception either of parts 
or duration. Absolute time, which is considered without 
relation to bodies, or their motions, is either an accurate 
expression, or another word for eternity : for time is no 
other than a mode of duration, marked by certain periods 
and measures; but chiefly by the revolution of the 
planets around the sun, or what is called the revolution 
and motion of the sun, which is not accurate. Space is 
generally conceived to have modes of existence, such as 
distance, capacity, extension, and duration. 

When considered in length between two bodies, it is 
the same as distance. 

When considered in length, breadth, and thickness, it 
is the same as capacity. 

When it is considered between the extremities of mat- 


ter, which fills the capacity of nature with something 
solid, tangible, and moveable, it is the same as extension. 

And when it is considered as always existing in all or 
any of the above modes, it is the same as duration. 

Absolute space, which is considered without regard 
to anything external, always remaining the same, being 
infinite and immoveable, is either a confused idea ex- 
pressing nearly the same as time, or is here confounded 
with eternity. I contend, therefore, that both time and 
space necessarily suppose creation, and, independently 
of that, convey no accurate idea. 

When God by creation had struck time out of eter- 
nity, he appears to have divided it into certain portions 
or periods, each being what the apostle calls here a 
7r\jjp(d/*a pleroma, a full round, or complete revolution 
in itself. So there was, 1. A pleroma for the patriarchal 
state, the duration of which was about 2,000 years, com- 
mencing with the Creation, and extending to the giving 
of the Law. 2. This was followed by the legal or 
Jewish pleroma, which commenced with the exodus 
from Egypt, and passed down to the incarnation of 
Christ, embracing about the same period. And 3. The 
Christian pleroma, which, commencing with the birth 
of our Lord, probably will include the remainder of 
time, to the end of the world. It is to this last that 
the apostle here alludes, ore Se rj\9t to TzXripoiyia tov xpovov. 
but when the fulness of the time was come ; when that 
point arose, in which God had determined to manifest 
his great designs in the redemption of the world, "he 
sent forth his Son, made, yivoptvov (rather ytwofitvov, 
born), of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them 
that were under the law," &c. Thus when the pleroma 
was completed, when the purposed revolution that was 
to usher in the Messiah arrived, — before which it would 
have been improper to have introduced him, and after 


■which it would have been equally improper to have de- 
layed his manifestation, — God's wisdom that cannot err^ 
having laid the plan, brought it to existence by his 
power and providence. 

But it may be asked, If sin entered into the world 
nearly as soon as the first man was created ; and if, with- 
out the incarnation of Christ, its influence could not be 
counteracted, nor the souls of men saved, — why was the 
manifestation of the Messiah delayed for nearly 4,000 

1. This is a captious question, meriting little notice, 
and may be sufficiently answered by the proposition now 
under consideration, — God is too wise to err. A Being 
infinitely wise and intelligent, never can do anything 
either foolish or unnecessary. He does always what is 
right, and in that time in which it is best to be done. 
Had the incarnation been necessary before, it would have 
taken place ; had it been improper then, it would have 
been delayed. This is sufficient to satisfy the reason 
and ^common sense of every candid inquirer. 

2. As to the reason why God should have done it then, 
and not before nor after, — this is hidden in the divine 
mind, and is probably such as can only be comprehended, 
by himself. 

3. But the question is in itself absurd, because it in- 
volves subjects that concern the infinite free agency of 
God alone, and are consequently beyond the comprehen- 
sion of man. For, as well might it be asked, Why did 
God delay the creation of the world and man so late, 
that it took place, according to the best reckonings, only 
between five and six thousand years ago? To this I 
answer, it was all eternity before; that eternity is an 
infinite now before God. In whatever point creation 
had commenced, eternity must have preceded ; and were 
it only to commence now, an indivisible eternity must 


have preceded, being neither less nor more than what it 
then was. Existence must begin somewhere, and it is 
equal where that existence commences. There must be 
an equal eternity before, and an equal eternity after. It 
is therefore absurd to ask, when we have to do with 
eternity, Why did not God begin the work of creation 
ten thousand, a hundred thousand, or millions of mil- 
lions of years before ? There must be a now of com- 
mencement, and that now must be the same, neither 
sooner nor later, in any point of eternity. 

4. But if the question had any just ground to stand 
on, even in appearance, all its force is destroyed by the 
consideration that, when sin took place, the promise of 
redemption was made — " The seed of the woman shall 
bruise the head of the serpent." And Jesus was, from 
that hour, considered as the sacrifice for sin ; for he Was 
" the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," 
Rev. xiii. 8. And to this very determination do the 
following Scriptures refer : John xvii. 24 : " Thou lovedst 
me before the foundation of the world." Eph. i. 4 : " He 
hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the 
world." 1 Pet. i. 18, 20 : " Ye were redeemed — with the 
precious blood of Christ — who was fore-ordained before 
the foundation of the world." And through this divine 
intention, all the offerings of the patriarchs, and sacri- 
fices of the Jews, had their efficacy ; and millions were 
saved through the blood of the cross, who lived and 
died some thousands of years before Jesus expired on it. 
This is a farther proof of the wisdom of God's plans, 
and that He is too wise to err. 

II. He can do nothing wrong. This rests on his holi- 
ness and justice. What he plans must be as holy as it 
is wise, and as necessary as it is holy; for he can do 
nothing that is useless. These three points meet in the 
Incarnation of Christ, — wisdom, holiness, and what is 


indispensably -necessary. 1. Nothing but God's wisdom 
could hare found it out. 2. Nothing but his holiness 
could have required it ; and 3. So necessary was it, that 
nothing else could have availed for the salvation of the 
world. These are positions which are capable of the most 
satisfactory proof, and have been often demonstrated. 

III. He can do nothing that is unkind. This is founded 
on his goodness and his mercy. 1. Through his good- 
ness he made man ; and made him capable of union with 
himself, that he might be happy through his goodness. 
2 Everything he does, in the administration of his pro- 
vidence, is good, and manifests his kindness. He sends 
bis rain upon the just and the unjust ; and causes his 
sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good. 3. Every- 
thing that he permits to be done, though without a direct 
tendency in itself to promote the good of his followers, 
he overrules or counteracts so as to make it work together 
with his providence and grace, in such a way as to pro- 
mote the welfare of them that trust in him. Here they 
may rest satisfied, that whatsoever he does is the best 
that can be done, and is all that should be done ; being 
what is just and necessary. 

I. All this may be applied to the scheme of human 

1. Man, being made in union with God, formed a 
part of the heavenly family. 

2. Man, fallen into sin, lost this union, could be no 
longer a child of God, nor be entitled to any of the 
family rights, because no longer a partaker of the Divine 

3. God purposes to restore man to forfeited rights and 
privileges ; but in order to this he must bring back his 
sonship; but this must be by adoption, as the natural 
filiation is irrecoverably lost. 

4. In order to this, Jesus Christ is born of a woman, 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. IV. 4 — 7- 63 

and thus assumes the nature of man; that this nature 
might be ennobled and dignified by a union with his own. 

5. The incarnation of Christ is a mystery that cannot 
be comprehended by the human mind : how, in the man 
Christ Jesus, the fulness of the Godhead bodily could 
dwell, surpasses the power of human reason; but it is 
not more difficult than the union of the soul and body 
of man. We believe the latter to be a fact ; the former 
is not less so. Our own power of ratiocination is a 
jjroof that we have an immortal spirit. The miracles of 
Christ prove his indwelling Deity. 

6. Whatever he suffered or did, as God manifested in 
the flesh, was for man ; and must have reference to all 
those who are partakers of human nature : and if it can 
be proved that the whole human race sprang from one 
human pair, then the benefits of Christ's incarnation 
must extend to every human soul. This argument can- 
not be refuted. 

II. But why should Christ suffer ? 

1. He suffered for man, in consequence of his pur- 
pose to redeem man. 2. For this very purpose he be- 
came incarnate. 3. He put himself in the place of the 
whole human race, for the very purpose of suffering in 
their stead. 4. We have already seen that God can do 
nothing that is either wrong or useless. 5. As God, he 
had a right to assume man's nature, — and as Sovereign, 
to expiate the offences of man by his sufferings in that 
nature. 6. It was right that he should do so — else he 
had not done it. 7 It was necessary — for he can do 
nothing that is useless. 8. By his incarnation and suf- 
fering he made an atonement for their sins. 9. It is a 
maxim in law and justice, that the goods of the spoiler 
shall recompense the spoiled, and that the nature that 
transgresses shall either suffer or compensate. On this 
principle, Christ acted as the representative of, and sub- 



stitute for, man : and thus, not only made an atonement 
for iniquity, but, by bis merit, acquired a right for man 
to be restored to his forfeited privileges, and to be 
brought back by adoption into the heavenly family. 
10. Nothing can be clearer from the Scriptures than 
that God willed all this : he had a right to do so — it was 
just to do so — for his will is ever holy, just, and good. 

III. In what state was man to render all this neces- 

(1) He was out of the family, and cut off from all 
its rights. 

(2) He was under the law, under its curse and con- 
demnation, because he had sinned. 

(1) He was out of the family. — Having lost the divine 
image, he could no longer be in the favour of God, and 
could no longer be considered as a part of that family. 
And he must be restored to it, in order to regain its 
rights and privileges. "We have already seen that the 
recovery of his natural filiation was utterly impossible ; 
and the only way of being restored to the family was 
by adoption ; and this is so important a point, that it 
requires a particular consideration. 

1. Adoption, adoptio, feom ad, to or into, and opto, I 
choose, called v'w9tma by the Greeks, from ™ot> Qioiq, the 
making or acquiring a son, signifies the act of receiving 
a stranger into a family, and conveying to him all the 
rights, privileges, and benefits belonging to a natural or 
legitimate child, — the receiving the child of a stranger 
into a family where there was none. 

2. This did not exist in the Jewish law, it was pro- 
perly a Roman custom, and among them was regulated 
by law; and it is to adoption, as practised among the 
Romans, that the apostle alludes in this place, as well as 
in various others in his epistles. 

3. Among the ancient Romans, every house had its 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. IV. 4 — 7- 65 

altar, its religious rights, and its household gods. All 
these being considered as most sacred, were ever to be 
continued in that family; and on this account, if the 
family were in danger of becoming extinct through want 
of children, adoption was admitted, that the family and 
its sacred rites and gods might be preserved. This was 
one of the laws of the very ancient twelve tables, so 
celebrated in the history of ancient Rome. The words, 
as I find them in Pothier's most accurate edition of the 
" Pandects of Justinian," are as follows (the reason of 
the law being set down at large) : " Sacra privata per- 
petua memento, " Let private sacred things (or household 
gods) remain for ever." 

4. It may be necessary to introduce the whole passage, 
though I have given the substance of it above : Adop- 
tivus originem hanc apud Romanos, fuisse censent doc- 
tores ; quod cum unaquoque familia, sacra sua privata, 
focos et aras haberet, de quibus lege xii. Tab. cautum 
erat, sacra privata perpetua manento ; omni ope nite- 
bantur Romani, ne ilia sacra interirent: adeoque, de- 
ficiente prole naturali, curabant aliquem per adoptionem in 
suam gentem et familiam et sacra transire, ut per illam 
haec sacra perpetuarentur. — Lib. i., Pandectar, Tit. vii., 
art. 1, vol. i., p. 24. 

" The learned suppose this to have been the origin of 
adoption among the Romans : That each family should 
possess its own private sacred things (or household gods), 
its hearths and altars, concerning which in the laws of 
the Twelve Tables it was ordered, Let, the private sacred 
things remain for ever. The Romans strove by all means 
to preserve those sacred things from perishing; and 
therefore, in the failure of natural offspring, they took 
care that some one should be adopted into the race and 
family, and the possession of the religious rites of the 
family, that so these privileges might be perpetuated." 


5. When then a child was to be adopted into a strange 
family, his father took him, and presenting himself and 
his son before the magistrate, and five witnesses who 
were Romans, he said, Mancipo tibi huncjUium qui mens 
est, " I emancipate to thee this my son." Then the 
adopting father, holding a piece of money in his hand, 
and at the same time taking hold of the son, said, Hunc 
ego hominem, jure Quiritium meum esse aio, isque mihi 
emptus est hoc wre, &c, " I declare this man to be my 
son according to the Roman law, and he is bought by 
this money ;" and then gave it to the father, as the price 
of his son, &c. 

6. Every Roman father had the right of life and death 
over his children, even as they had over slaves. In the 
case of adoption, this right was surrendered by the natu- 
ral father to the adopting father, and the person adopted 
entered into this new family, as if it were his own natu- 
rally. He took his adopting father's name, and had a 
legal right, not only to food, raiment, and all the comforts 
of life, but also to the inheritance, all the relatives of 
the new family bore the same relation to the adopted, as 
if they had been naturally his own ; and in all privi- 
leges, rights, and legal transactions, he was the same as 
if he had been born in that family. 

7- But he was still amenable to the laws, and must be 
in every respect obedient, attentive to the family honour, 
and to its interest. In case of rebellion against the 
parent, he might be put to death ; for the adopting 
father had the same authority over the adopted son as 
his own natural father had. 

8. As a father might disinherit his son, so might the 
adopting father disinherit the adopted. For it must be 
considered that the adopted son, while he stood in the 
state and privileges of a natural child, had no privilege 
beyond such. 


Without extending +he parallel further than strictly 
necessary, we may obsa_ve, — 

1. That as man had lost all the privileges of his natu- 
ral filiation, to regain them, he must be received into the 
family by way of adoption. This was the only mode. 

2. This adoption supposes that he is entirely cut off 
from the old family, having no longer any legal relation 
to or connexion with it. 

3. That he is received into the new family, to be en- 
tirely under the rule and government of his adopter ; to 
be employed as he shall choose to employ him ; and to 
be entirely at his disposal in body, soul, and spirit. 

4. That as by this transaction he becomes an heir in 
the new family, so he is to enjoy those privileges while 
he acts according to the law in that case provided, and 
to the rules and constitutions of the father s house. 

5. That his old consanguinity is now changed. That 
he is considered of the same blood with the new familj-, 
standing no longer in any filial relationship to any 

6. That he takes the very name of his adopting father, 
and is to be in every respect conformed to that family. 

To apply these more particularly. 

1. Man, having sinned against God, ceased to be his 
son ; for in order to constitute filiation, it is essential 
that the child share the same nature with the father. As 
God's nature is holy, pure, and perfect, when man 
sinned, he lost his conformity to this nature ; he lost the 
image of God in which he was created, and became un- 
holy, impure, and imperfect. 

2. To restore him, the way of adoption only was left ; 
and that could not have taken place, had not a previous 
adoption taken place, viz., the adoption of human nature 
by Jesus Christ ; therefore, says the apostle, in the ful- 
ness of time God sent forth his Son, bom of a woman : 


thus he adopted human nature, our flesh and blood, that 
he might make proper way for the adopting of our whole 
nature, flesh and spirit, into the family of God. 

3. This adoption therefore supposes, and absolutely 
requires, that he be cut off from the old stock, and 
grafted into the new ; leaving behind him all his sins, 
sinful habits, sinful companions, and sinful dispositions ; 
being no longer of his old father, the devil, nor in any 
respect doing his lusts, performing his will, or associating 
with his followers ; and that, as the old consanguinity is 
changed, he now stands in relation only to God, holy 
angels, and holy men ; and that he is bound to maintain 
in every respect the honour, dignity, and respect of the 
divine family into which he is adopted. 

4. In being adopted by God, he is no longer his own, 
he is God's right ; body, soul, and spirit, belong to his 
heavenly Father. He is ever to feel himself absolutely 
at the disposal of God ; and is bound, if he would enjoy 
the privileges of the family, to take God's word for the> 
rule of his life, and God's Spirit for the regulator of his 
heart and affections. 

5. And this obedience to the will of the Father, and 
conformity to the Ruler of the Family, are founded on 
the state of salvation into which he is brought, and the 
ineffable privileges to which he has now a right : he is an 
heir of God, and a joint-heir with Christ Jesus. 

6. That as by this adoption he acquires a new nature, 
so he has a new name — he is called after God, a son of 
God, a child of God, an heir of God. But properly the 
family name is saint : all the adopted children are called 
to be saints; for holiness becomes God's house and 
family for ever. Where there is no saintship, there is 
no adoption, and consequently no heirship, and no in- 
heritance. To this most important part of the adoption 
the apostle alludes, Rom. viii. 14, As many as are led by 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. IV. 4 — 7- 69 

the Spirit of God, they are the song of God, and they re- 
ceive the spirit of adoption; whereby they cry, Abba, Father, 
ver. 15. And in consequence of this adoption, they are 
to be conformed to the image of God's Son, ver. 29, who 
will at last change their vile body, and make even it 
like unto his glorious body, according to the energy whereby 
he is able to subdue even all things to himself, Phil, 
iii. 21. Thus they have the family name, the family 
nature, and the family privileges ; and these are insepa- 
rable from each other ; for, as one of our nervous writers 
has said, Every man is either a saint or a brute. 

(2) But men were not only out of the family, having 
neither rights nor hopes, but they were under the law. 

The law here, though generally understood to signify 
the Mosaic law, both moral and ritual, more properly 
means the moral law itself, by which every human being 
is bound to " love God with all his heart, soul, mind, and 
strength, and his neighbour as himself." "Where this law 
is written in the heart, universal obedience will be se- 
cured. He that loves God, will keep his command- 
ments ; he that thus loves his neighbour, will do him no 
hurt, but, on the contrary, every kind office. On every 
human soul this law is binding, even naturally consi- 
dered ; for it was the law under which man was made. 
But the law, as given by the ministry of Moses, ex- 
plained, enforced, and sanctioned this law ; and all its 
sanctions are summed up in these fearful words : " Cursed 
is every one that continueth not in all the things that 
are written in the book of the law, to do them." To be 
made under the law, is to be made under the obligation 
to keep the law ; and if broken, the being made under 
it, signifies to be liable to its curse. As all therefore 
have broken this law, have sinned against God and 
against their neighbour, they are cursed of the Lord, are 
exposed to his wrath, and to everlasting perdition. 


Jesus our Lord was incarnated, that he might redeem 
them that were under the law, \va i%ayopaay, that He 
might buy or purchase them hack. This refers to the act 
of adoption ; the adopting father, as we have seen, laying 
down a sum of money, and declaring, as the law in that 
case required, the person adopted to be his son, and to 
be purchased with that money which he then laid down, 
and which the natural parent accepted. But the price 
paid down in this redemption is no less than the blood 
and life of Christ Jesus ; and to this circumstance 
St. Peter refers, when he says, " Ye know that ye were 
not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, 
from your vain conversation, received by tradition from 
your fathers ; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a 
lamb without blemish and without spot," 1 Peter i. 18, 
19. And therefore they are exhorted to be obedient 
children, not fashioning themselves according to the for- 
mer lusts in their ignorance ; but as he who had called 
(adopted) them was holy, so should they be in all manner 
of conversation, ver. 14, 15. The wealth of universal 
nature could not have availed to buy back the souls whose 
inheritance had been forfeited by being sold under sin. 
It required that price, all price beyond, to procure the 
right and privileges of this heavenly adoption for a ruined 
and lost world. 

IV The apostle adds, that now being adopted and 
made sons, God had sent forth the spirit of his Son into 
their hearts ; and here he shows the privileges of the 
state into which they were brought. 

In order to accomplish man's salvation, God sent forth 
his Son, f£a7T£<rra\{j' 6 9io£ tov vlov avrov — he sent him 
from himself — him who was the Eternal Logos, that lay in 
his bosom. He sent him forth to be incarnated by the 
energy of his own Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin ; and 
when he had said, done, and suffered all that became him 


as the Messiah and the Redeemer of man, and had pur- 
chased eternal redemption for us, and appointed his 
apostles and their successors to proclaim repentance and 
remission of sins in his name, and had sent forth his 
Spirit to give energy to their words ; then, to as many 
as turned from their sins by repentance, and laid hold on 
the sacrificial offering of Christ by faith, that same Spirit 
he hath sent forth (ilcnreaTiiktv — sent it from his Son 
Jesus, as Jesus was sent forth from himself), attesting their 
redemption, to every penitent and believing soul which 
he had purchased by his blood. 

It is not therefore a heavenly or Christian disposition 
of the heart, from which the believer collects the evidence 
of his salvation, and through that infers its certainty ; it 
is from the Spirit of God himself, a Spirit as truly sent 
forth to bear this witness as Jesus was sent forth to pur- 
chase the blessing by his passion and death. And this 
Spirit and his testimony Jesus Christ had particularly 
promised, John xiv. 16, 17, and characterizes him as the 
Spirit of truth, that proceeds from the Father, and should 
testify of him, John xv. 26; for such matters as these 
were of too great importance to be left to the conjectures 
of men ; as some would be liable to bea'r their own testi- 
mony that they were in the divine favour, to whom God 
had witnessed no such thing. 

This adoption is manifested to believers two ways : — 

I. Negatively ; and II. Positively. 

I. Negatively, Showing that those circumstances are 
absent which, if present, would necessarily disprove it. 

1. By the removal of their guilt — giving them ease 
and peace of conscience. 

2. By taking away their darkness, and diffusing 
throughout their souls his heavenly light. 

3. By removing their burdensome, miserable sense of 
guilt ; so that they no longer feel self-condemnation, be- 


yond which the soul cannot suffer an evil more distress- 
ing on this side eternity. Hence they feel no longer 
that dreadful apprehension of God's wrath, that fearful 
looking for a fiery indignation that shall devour the 

II. Positively. Showing that those circumstances are 
present, the presence of which necessarily proves it. 

1. The Holy Spirit is sent forth to witness with their 
spirit. He is to bear his testimony where it is absolutely 
necessary — where it can be properly discerned — where 
it can be fully understood — and where it cannot be mis- 
taken, viz., in their hearts ; or, as St. Paul says, Rom. 
viii. 16, " The Spirit itself beareth witness with our 
spirit." The Spirit of God with the spirit of man — 
Spirit with spirit — intelligence with intelligence — the 
testimony given and received by the same kind of agency. 
A spiritual agent in a spiritual substance. 

2. This witness is not borne in their passions, nor in 
impression made upon their imagination ; for this must be 
from its very nature doubtful and evanescent : but it is 
borne in their understanding, not by a transitory manifes- 
tation, but continually ; unless a man, by sins of omission 
or commission, grieve that Divine Spirit, and cause him to 
withdraw his testimony, which is the same thing as the 
divine approbation. And God cannot continue to the 
soul a sense of his approbation, when it has departed from 
the holy commandment that was given to it. But even 
in this case, the man may return by repentance and faith 
to God, through Christ, when pardon will be granted, and 
the witness restored. 

3. Wherever this Spirit comes, it bears a testimony to 
itself. It shows that it is the Divine Spirit by its own 
light, and he who receives it is perfectly satisfied of this. 
It brings a light, a power, and conviction, more full, more 
clear and more convincing to the understanding and 


judgment than they ever had, or ever can have, of any 
circumstance or fact, brought before the intellect. The 
man knows that it is the Divine Spirit, and he knows 
and feels that it bears testimony to the state of grace 
in which he stands. 

4. So convincing and satisfactory is this testimony, that 
a man receiving it is enabled to call God his Father, 
with the utmost filial confidence. Surprised and con- 
vinced, he cries out at once, "Abba, Father ! My Father ! 
My Father !" Having as full a consciousness that he is 
a child of God as the most tenderly beloved child has 
of his filiation to his natural parent. He has the ttXij- 
pojipopia mantoQ, the full assurance of faith — the meridian 
evidence that puts all doubts to flight. 

5. And this, as was observed above, continues — for it 
is the very voice of the in-dwelling Spirit ; for xpaZov. 
" crying," is not only the participle of the present tense, 
denoting the continuation of the action ; but, being 
neuter, it agrees with to rrvivfia tov vlov ahrov, the Spirit 
of his Son — so it is the Divine Spirit which continues to 
cry, Abba, Father! in the heart of the true believer. 
And it is ever worthy to be remarked, that when a man 
has been unfaithful to the grace given, or has fallen into 
any kind of sin, he has no power to utter this cry. The 
Spirit is grieved and has departed, and the cry is lost ! 
No power of the man's reason, fancy, or imagination can 
restore this cry. Were he to utter the words with his 
lips, his heart would disown them. But, on the other 
hand, while he continues faithful, the witness is conti- 
nued ; the fight, and conviction, and the cry are main- 
tained. It is the glory of this grace that no man can 
command this cry, and none can assume it. Where it 
is, it is the faithful and true witness ; where it is not, 
all is uncertainty and doubt. 

But this is not the only privilege of the godly : though 


by it they hold communion with God, yet it is conti- 
nually in effect saying, "Arise and depart, for this is 
not your rest." For they are begotten again unto a 
living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 
dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and 
that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them who 
are kept by faith, through the power of God, unto salva- 
tion, 1 Pet. i. 3 — 5. Hence says the apostle in the 
text, " If sons, then heirs." 

The sonship or adoption we have already seen; the 
heirship now follows. An inheritance may be acquired 
three several ways : 1. By purchase. 2. By gift. 3. 
By natural right. In this last way, the children of the 
family only can inherit — they must be children, either 
natural and legal, or adopted, in order to have this right. 

1. As the inheritance mentioned here must be of in- 
finite value, it cannot be purchased ; and the persons in 
question, being all sinners, and having come short of the 
glory of God, have nothing to pay. 

2. It cannot be acquired by gift ; for the persons of 
whom we speak have sinned, and are under the curse of 
the law ; and God being infinitely one, and all his at- 
tributes in absolute harmony, he can do nothing by 
mercy and bounty, that has not the full approbation of 
his holiness and justice, 

3. The inheritance by natural or adoptive right is that 
alone which can be intended here ; hence the apostle 
says in a parallel text, Rom. viii. 17, " If children, then 
heirs." And in the text, the apostle, reasoning on their 
adoption, says, " Wherefore thou art no more a servant 
(Sov\o£, a slave), but a son." The slavery and disgrace 
of the sinful state were now ended ; and, being received 
into the heavenly family, they were ennobled by the 
admission, and enriched by the inheritance. The chil- 
dren of the family alone have a right to the paternal 


inheritance ; none can inherit that have not this familv 
right ; hence no soul can ever obtain heaven that is not 
bom of God. "Vain, therefore, is the expectation of 
heaven when we come to die, if we have not formed a 
part of the family of God while in life. 

But it may be necessary to speak more particularly 
on the nature of this inheritance. It is generally consi- 
dered the state of eternal glory; which implies three 
things : — 1. An absence of all suffering, pain, sin, and 
evil. 2. The presence of all good, both of the purest 
and most exalted kind. And, 3. The complete satis- 
faction of all the desires of the soul, at all times, and 
through eternity, without the possibility of decrease on 
the one hand, or of satiety on the other, or of any ter- 
mination of the existence of the receiver or the received. 
This is ineffably great and glorious ; but the apostle ex- 
ceeds all this by saying, an heir of God. It is, there- 
fore, not heaven merely ; it is not the place where no ill 
can enter, and where pure and spiritual good is eternally 
present ; it is not merely a state of endless blessedness 
in the regions of glory; it is GOD HIMSELF— God 
in his plenitude of glories — God, who, by the eternal 
communications of his glories, meets every wish, and 
satisfies every desire of a deathless and imperishable 
spirit, which he has created for himself, and of which 
himself is. the only portion. To a soul composed of in- 
finite desires, what would the place or state called hea- 
ven be, if God were not there ! God, then, is the 
portion of the soul, and the only portion by which its 
infinite powers can be satisfied. How wonderful is this 
lot ! A child of corruption, lately a slave of sin and 
heir of perdition — tossed about with every storm of life 
— in afflictions many, and privations oft — having perhaps 
scarcely a place to lay his head — and at last prostrated 
by death, and mingled with the dust of the earth — but 


now, how changed ! The soul is renewed in glory — the 
body fashioned after the glorious human nature of Jesus 
Christ, and both joined together in an indestructible 
bond, clearer than the moon, brighter than the sun, and 
more resplendent than all the heavenly spheres; for 
having conquered and triumphed in the church militant, 
it is now sat down with Jesus on his throne, as he, 
having overcome, is sat down with the Father on the 
Father's throne. Hallelujah ! The Lord God omnipo- 
tent reigneth! And his children, his followers, and 
confessors, shall reign with him for ever and ever! 

V As God never does anything without a reason and 
a proper object, so he concludes this wonderful display 
of his mercy to sinners in their adoption and glorification, 
by adding Sta Xpiarov, through Christ — for Christ's sake 
— on Christ's account; intimating that this is done 
through and for Him. That no other consideration 
could have been a sufficient reason why he should have 
sent forth his Son, and why this Son should have suf- 
fered and died. 

This incarnation, passion, and death have amply justi- 
fied the divine wisdom in the plan, and the divine power 
and goodness m the execution of it. The glory, also, 
that shall be revealed in the redeemed of the Lord ; the 
exceeding great and eternal weight of glory which those 
shall enjoy who have washed their robes, and made 
them white in the blood of the Lamb ; who have fol- 
lowed Christ in the regeneration, and been faithful unto 
death ; — all, all manifest the power and mercy of God, 
through Christ. 

Add to this, the glory that shall redound to the name 
of God and the Lamb throughout eternity on this ac- 
count ; the wonderful, and to us now ineffable, displays 
that shall be made of the holiness, justice, goodness, 


mercy, and long-suffering of God, all exercised in the 
work of redemption ; — the astonishing mystery of Provi- 
dence, which has conducted the whole scheme of salva- 
tion, through the Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian 
dispensations, to the end of the world, which shall then 
be unravelled ; all seeming contradictions reconciled ; all 
apparently insulated operations connected in the one 
great whole. The discovery in what degrees and man- 
ners the Divine energy counter- worked the spirit of evil 
that was in the world, and preserved man in a salvable 
state ; and how, for the accomplishment of his most 
gracious purposes in the salvation of a lost world, he 
raised one and depressed another, turning the nations 
upside down ; ever causing all things to work together 
for good to them that loved him. The wonders of cre- 
ation, the wonders of providence, and the wonders of 
grace, all produced, guided, governed, and directed by 
this sovereign Christ; and notwithstanding the male- 
volence of Satan and his angels, the opposition and 
gainsaying of wicked men, and the evil produced by the 
unfaithfulness of those who professed to be his friends, 
they shall see all resulting, here, in glory to God in the 
highest, peace and good will to men ; and, in the other 
world, issuing in the eternal honour of him who loved 
us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and 
made us kings and priests unto God and his Father : 
to whom be glory and dominion for ever and ever. 
Amen ! 

Thus, then, the fulness of all times prepares for and 
introduces the fulness of the manifestation of God 
through his Christ by the eternal Spirit, which shall 
continue through that duration that is unlimited by 
time, and which is inhabited by Jehovah himself. 

These are subjects, the full discovery and contem- 
plation of which by immortal spirits, exalted and 


sublimed in all their powers, cannot fail to afford ineffable 
satisfaction and delight. Besides, the farther manifes- 
tations of God in all the perfections of his nature — each 
perfection being infinite, and infinitely glorious, shedding 
endlessly its effulgence upon the beatified spirit, pene- 
trating it by its ardours, and imbuing it with its wisdom, 
holiness, and truth, must be a source of inexhaustible 
gratification and happiness ! All this, and ten thousand 
thousand times more than this, is implied in being 
HEIRS OF GOD ! To know the rest, we must die ; 
and to be qualified for the enjoyment, we must die in 
the Lord. Even so, Lord Jesus ! 

From the positions laid down in the preceding dis- 
course, it appears, 

1. That the wisdom, holiness, and goodness of GOD, 
are intimately concerned and energetically employed in 
the work of human redemption. 

2. And that this was absolutely necessary from the 
fallen state and wretched condition of the human race. 

3. That it required the adoption of the nature of 
man, by the ever-blessed Redeemer, in order that he 
might be qualified, as Mediator and Redeemer, to make 
a sacrifice for sin. 

4. That man, having broken the law of God, and 
being under the curse, could have been redeemed in no 
other way. 

5. That man, in order to be saved, must be trans- 
planted from the family of the old Adam, and be incor- 
porated by adoption into that of the new Adam ; and 
thus, being made a child of GOD, he becomes in conse- 
quence an heir of the kingdom of heaven. 

6. That in consequence of this adoption, he is no 
longer his own, nor at. his own disposal; but belongs 
entirely to Him from whom he has received the 


7. That as he bears in consequence a new name, so 
he receives a new nature, with new relations, connex- 
ions, &c. 

8. That he becomes entitled to the heavenly inherit- 
ance, according to the law of his adoption : " Be thou 
faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." 
"He that endureth to the end shall be saved; and he 
that overcometh will I give to sit down with me on 
my throne, as I have overcome, and sat down with the 
Father upon the Father's throne." 

9. That as the natural child, by rebellion against the 
father, and treason against the state, might not only for- 
feit his adoption, and be disinherited, but also lose his 
life ; so the spiritually adopted, who was a branch even 
in the true vine, may be cut off, if it bring forth no 
fruit, and be cast into the fire and be burned. So that, 
though a natural son must be, in reference to his natural 
father, a son for ever, yet an adopted son is widely dif- 
ferent, as he is a son, not naturally, but according to 
law ; and when he breaks the conditions of his adoption, 
becomes disinherited, unfiliated, and cast out of the 
family. So, once a son, is not a son for ever ; and once 
in a state of grace, does not imply an infallible necessity 
of continuance. 

10. That when a penitent, believing soul is adopted 
into the heavenly family, his sins are all blotted out, his 
nature changed, and he is assured of the present state 
of grace in which he stands, 1. By the removal of his 
guilt and condemnation. 2. By the direct witness of 
God's Spirit that he is received into the heavenly family, 
and is become a son of God. 

11. That of such solemn importance is this testimony, 
that all the Persons of the ever-blessed Trinity join in 
it ; for the text says, Because ye are sons (i. e., by this 
gracious adoption), God (the Father) hath sent forth the 

VOL. I. E 


Spirit (the Holy Ghost) of his Son (the Lord Jesus 
Christ) into your heart, crying, Abba, Father ! so that 
in the mouth of these three heavenly Witnesses every 
word may be established. 

12. That the privileges of the adopted children, if 
they continue faithful, are great and glorious beyond 
comprehension ; for they are heirs, not merely of the 
kingdom of heaven, but of God himself ; who alone is, 
and can be, the adequate portion of the immortal spirit 
for ever. 

13. That all this adoption, its concomitant blessedness 
and eternal glory, are by and through Christ Jesus ; it 
being only through his incarnation, passion, and death, 
that the soul can be saved, and God and man reconciled. 

14. That no soul profits by Jesus Christ who does not 
receive in this world redemption in his blood ; and that 
this redemption necessarily implies, 1. The breaking of 
the power of sin, so that it has no longer dominion over 
them. 2. The removal of the guilt of sin ; so that their 
consciences no longer condemn them. 3. The purifi- 
cation of their hearts from all evil tempers, passions, and 
appetites; so that they can love God with all their 
hearts, and worthily magnify his name, and love their 
neighbour as themselves. 

15. That as every man by nature and practice is 
under the curse of the law, which he has broken ; so he 
is in a state of the utmost danger; for should he die 
before he receives the adoption, his soul must perish 

16. That time is uncertain; that above all things ki 
the compass of universal nature, it is the least under 
human control ; that no man can either arrest or trea- 
sure up its moments ; that when once past, it is irre- 
coverably lost ; and this loss may be accompanied with 
that of an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory. 


17- That while it is called to-day, every man should 
hear the voice of the Son of God, who is now knocking 
at the door of every human heart, and crying, Come 
unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will 
give you rest. 

18. That he who turns from his sins — deplores them 
with a penitent heart, and believes on Jesus as having 
been incarnated for him, and as having suffered and 
died in his stead, trusting only in the infinite merit of 
his blood, shall, as surely as Christ hath suffered for 
sinners, receive the remission of his sins, and a right to 
the tree of life, and to that inheritance which is incor- 
ruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved 
in heaven for them who are kept by the power of God, 
through faith, unto salvation. 

Wherefore, as the Spirit and the Bride say, Come ! 

Let him that heareth say, Come ! 

And let him that is athirst, Come. 

And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life 
freely ! 

He that testifieth these things saith, Surely I come 
quickly ! Amen. Even so, Come ! Lord Jesus ! 




A Discourse on Behalf of the Wesleyan Missions, preached at Great 
Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, May 2, 1824. 

1 Timothy ii. 3 — 6. 

3. 'Yovto yap KoiKov tcai airotiKTov ivtamov tov Swj-Jjpoc iifiwv 


4. 'Oc TtavraQ avOpioirovg Qtkei aiaQr\vai, Kai tig tiriyviixsiv 

aKr)Buag f\9tiv. 

5. Eif yap Gtoc, tig /cat MeoiTrjQ Qtov Kai avQpuirwv. AyQpwirog 

XpicrroQ IrjoovQ' 

6. 'O Sovg iavrov avrCKvTpov virtp iravriav, to [laprvpiov Kai- 

poig itilOlQ. * 

•'5. " For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our 

Saviour : 
4. " Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the 

knowledge of the truth. 
.">. " For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and 

men, the man Christ Jesus : 
6. " Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due 


In these and the preceding verses, the apostle enjoins 
a most important duty, prayer, for all sorts, states, and 
conditions of men ; and this he recommends by motives 
and arguments the strongest that can be conceived. " I 
will, therefore, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, 

* I give the text in the original, because this is frequently re- 
ferred to in the course of the Sermon. 


and giving of thanks, be made for all men ; that we 
may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and 
honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight 
of God our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, 
and come to the knowledge of the truth." 

Prayer for the pardon of sin, and for the obtaining the 
necessary supplies of grace, and continual protection 
from God — with gratitude and thanksgiving for mercies 
already received — are duties which our sinful and depen- 
dant state renders absolutely necessary. That intercourse 
between God and the soul, which constitutes acquaint- 
ance with him, is essential to religion and piety. It is a 
good thing in itself; it argues a heart dependant on God, 
and conscious of its dependance ; and it is acceptable to 
God, because, as it springs from, so it leads to him ; and 
when it is exercised in behalf of others, it is the means 
of begetting and extending charity, humanity, and bene- 
volence ; and God crowns it with the blessings for which 
it is exercised. For these reasons it must be good ; and 
all good in principle and practice is acceptable in the 
sight of God our Saviour. 

But the words which I have particularly selected, lead 
to subjects which constitute the basis of all true re- 
ligion ; and I shall beg leave to introduce them •with 
some general remarks. 

1. All institutions, whether human or divine, are 
founded on certain principles, which give direction and 
efficiency to those institutions. 

2. These principles spring from the reason, propriety, 
or necessity, that such institutions should be formed; 
that such principles should not only be their basis, but 
ramify themselves through all the rules and regulations 
formed for the proper conducting of such institutions. 

3. These institutions are formed to promote or accom- 

84 god's willingness to save all men ; 

plish a particular end ; and such an end as justifies the 
motives, and sanctions the means and energies, which 
are required to be brought into action for their accom- 

If the institution be divine, it is founded on the per- 
fections of God, and must necessarily partake of his 
wisdom, his goodness, holiness, and truth. He wills it, 
because he sees it to be right and proper. His will re- 
vealed, is the expression of his ineffable wisdom, holi- 
ness, goodness, and truth. Whatever he wills must be 
right and just in itself, and consequently acceptable to 
all the attributes and perfections of his nature. 

Religion is the institution of God ; it expresses his 
will, it manifests his perfections ; and as it concerns man, 
for whose sake alone the institution itself was formed 
and exists, it strongly points out the benevolence of its 
Author ; because it is framed for the present and eternal 
good of the human race. 

In the verses before us, the apostle lays down the 
principles of this institution — the end which it proposes 
— and the means to be employed for the accomplishment 
of this end. 

The divine purpose is first summarily declared : — 

I. God wills that all men should be saved. 

II. And in order to this, that they should come to 
the knowledge of the truth. 

The truth, which is to be known and acknowledged, 
is next produced in its essential principles. 

(1) There is one God. 

(2) There is one Mediator between God and men. 

(3) This Mediator is particularly characterized as the 
Man Christ Jesus. 

(4) What he did as Mediator is next declared : He 
gave himself a ransom for all. And, 


(5) This system of truth is to be testified to men in 
due and proper times, that they may acknowledge it, 
and he finally saved. Of these in order. 

I. The purpose of God declared: He wills that all 
men should be saved. This will or decree is founded on 
the following principles. 1. He is the Creator of all. 
2. He made of one flesh and blood all the nations of 
men, to dwell on the face of the whole earth. 3. He 
made man in his own image and likeness, that he might 
be happy. 4. In this original purpose and creating act, 
he had in view all the posterities of that one human 
pair which he created. None were created but Adam 
and Eve ; all the rest came by natural generation from 
those two. There was no distinction of original families, 
created at different times, or for different purposes ; two 
persons only were created, and whatever was designed 
for them was necessarily designed for the whole of their 
posterity, all of whom were seminally included in this 
first and only created pair ; being properly and physically 
a part of themselves, and continued partakers of their 
being. And as God intended that man should spring 
from man after this creation, so he considered them as 
one stock, one family, of which himself was the Father 
and the Head ; and however he might in his Providence 
scatter them over the earth, assign them different habi- 
tations, and different bounds to those habitations, yet, in 
reference to their immortal spirits, and their eternal 
states, he made no distinction; but, as declared here, 
willed the salvation of all ; for all men necessarily takes 
in the whole posterity of the first pair, and that posterity 
is a continuation and extension of the being of the 
human stock. It cannot appear strange, therefore, that 
God should will all men to be saved ; for this necessarily 
follows from his willing the salvation of any ; for that 
nature has not been divided, and every portion of it falls 

86 god's willingness to save all men, 

equally under the merciful regards of the Father of the 
spirits of all flesh. 

When God purposed the creation of man, he willed 
his happiness ; and therefore gave him such a kind of 
being, endued with such capacities and perfections, as 
could be brought into intimate communion with himself, 
and were capable of receiving such influences or emana- 
tions from the divine perfections, as to constitute an 
incredible sum of intellectual happiness. When man 
sinned, and lost by transgression that righteousness and 
true holiness which constituted the image of God in 
which he was created, and so lost his happiness, and 
became sinful and miserable ; God, who is an invariable 
source of benevolence toward his intelligent offspring, 
willed his salvation, which implies his deliverance from 
that state of darkness, sinfulness, and misery into which 
he had fallen ; his restoration to the Divine favour, by 
being again made partaker of the Divine image ; and, con- 
sequently, his restoration to that state of happiness which 
he had lost by sin. Therefore, his willing the salvation 
of all men is only a consequence and revealed expression 
of that will or divine determination, that the human 
creature which he had designed to make should be a 
happy being. And as he was originally happy, because 
he was holy, so God designed to restore him to holiness, 
that he might re-possess that happiness which was his 
portion in the beginning of the creation of God. What- 
soever new forms this design might assume, or through 
whatsoever new circumstances it was necessary to be 
manifested, it was still essentially the same in itself, and 
invariable with regard to its object. 

II. But in order that this design might be accom- 
plished, it was necessary that it should be revealed ; and 
that God, its Author, should be glorified, it was necessary 
that he should be made known ; and that man, its object, 


should be duly affected by it, it was requisite that his 
state, danger, and obligation should be fully declared • 
and this has been done by the Spirit of God in Moses, 
in the prophets, and in the writers of the New Testa- 
ment. In these, the righteousness of God is revealed 
from faith to faith ; God is made known to man ; and 
man is brought to an acquaintance with himself. This 
revelation contains the only system of pure theology, — 
the only rational account of the being and perfections of 
God— of good and evil — of justice and injustice — of the 
immortality of the soul — of a future state — of the general 
resurrection — of what worship God requires — and of the 
way in which man may be restored to the favour and 
image of God. The outlines of these important doc- 
trines were revealed in the Old Testament ; the particu- 
lars and fulness are brought to bight by the New. This 
revelation is termed the truth ; and the New Testa- 
ment particularly, the truth of God, and the truth of the 

Truth is the contrary to falsity. Truth has been 
denned the conformity of notions to things — of words to 
thoughts ; it declares the thing that is, and as it is. 
Whereas falsity, in all its acceptations, is that which is 
not — what is pretended to be a fact, but either is no fact, 
or is not represented as it really is. 

The revelation of God to man, in reference to his sal- 
vation, is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing 
but the truth. It bears a strict conformity to the perfec- 
tions of the Divine nature. It inspires such notions as 
are conformable to the things of which they are the 
mental ec-types ; and describes its subjects by such 
words as are conformable to the thoughts they repre- 

The revelation of God is the mind of God made 
known to men ; and the mind is not truer to itself than 


88 god's willingness to save all men ; 

the Inspired Writings are to the mind and purpose of 

Truth is sometimes put in opposition to what is im- 
perfect, emblematical, and representative ; so, in these 
words of the Evangelist, " The law was given by Moses, 
hut grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," John i. ] 7> 
The Mosaic law was a representative system ; it was the 
shadow of good things to come, and not the very image, 
Heb. x. 1. The Gospel was the substance ; in it all the 
outlines are filled up — the representations and types of 
the Law fulfilled by the exhibition of their realities. 
The Law made nothing perfect ; it pointed out by 
shadows and similitudes those better things which were 
yet to come ; and thus it was the truth, — the fulfilment 
of the sacrificial system, which offered only representa- 
tive victims ; but the Gospel brought in and exhibited 
the true Sacrifice, that Lamb of God which taketh away 
the sin of the world. Now this truth contains especially 
the following grand fundamental principles. 

(1) There is one God. There is one self -existing, 
infinite, eternal Being, possessed of all possible perfec- 
tions, and of each in an infinite manner. An eternity 
of perfections ; and each perfection absolutely so. He 
is so perfect that no perfection is wanting ; and so abso- 
lutely perfect, that no perfection can be added. This God 
is the Good Being : the Fountain of Goodness — the 
Source of blessedness. As evil is a privation and im- 
perfection, it cannot exist in him. It has been brought 
into the creation ; it is not of him : though he permits it, 
he has not produced it. 

" No evil can from him proceed ; 
"lis only suffered, not decreed : 
As darkness is not from the sun, 
Nor mount the shades till he is gone.' 

A DISCOURSE ON I TIM. II. 3 — 6. 89 

As lie is infinite, omniscient, absolute, and eternal; 
he can be but one ; for there cannot be two infinites, 
nor two eternals. There can be but one that inhabits 
eternity — there can be but one who filleth all things ; 
and who is the Creator, Possessor, and Preserver of all. 
This is the first principle of truth, and is the foundation 
of all religion, all science, all wisdom, and all that can 
be called tkuth. 

This most august and most perfect of all Beings, and 
the source whence all existence is derived, is here termed 
Swrijp fiiibiv Qtog, our Saviour God — the God who saves 
man — and the only Being who can save : for the salva- 
tion of a lost world is a work which an all-powerful and 
infinitely good God alone can effect. And such is his 
goodness, such his love to man, that he assumes this 
character, and will be known by this name. In this cha- 
racter fallen man needs him most ; and in this character 
he is most prominently exhibited in his own word. He 
that cometh to him (professeth to worship him), must 
know that He is : — that he is the sole author of existence ; 
and because he is good, and the saving God, he is the 
Redeemer of them that diligently seek him. They seek 
him in order to be saved ; and they have salvation in 
consequence of seeking him : which is a reward or re- 
compence, not of debt, but of grace ; for God the Saviour 
does all things for his own name's sake. 

There are characteristic attributes which now belong 
to God, that are not essential to his nature. He is mer- 
ciful ; but before the fall of man, this could not have 
been one of his attributes : in like manner, he is long- 
suffering — he is the forgiver of iniquity, transgression, 
and sin ; in a word, he is God our Saviour. But though 
all these spring from his infinite goodness, which ever 
was, and must be, an essential attribute of his nature, 
yet it was only in consequence of sin entering into the 

90 god's willingness to save all men; 

world, that his innate essential goodness became neces- 
sary to be expressed by these manifestations, and their 
concomitant acts. Man is a sinner; and therefore he 
needs a Saviour. Man has destroyed himself; but in 
God is his help. Man cannot give a ransom for his own 
soul — but this saving God has found out a ransom. 

(2) The second principle mentioned by the apostle, as 
contained in that truth which is necessary to the salva- 
tion of the world, is, " There is one Mediator between 
God and men." 

The word Mediator (Msmrrig) signifies a middle per- 
son : one tbat stands between two parties, either for the 
sake of introducing them to each other, that they may 
become acquainted ; or of reconciling them to each other, 
who were before at enmity. In no common case can a 
man become mediator, who is not acquainted with both 
parties, and has not the confidence of each. 

The parties requiring a mediator, in the case before us, 
are God and Men. 

1. Men, who had sinned against God, and rebelled 
against their Sovereign ; and so had committed a capital 
offence, for which they were justly exposed to such an 
exile and punishment, as should banish them from the 
presence of God, and from the glory of his power for 
ever, and consign them to everlasting perdition. 

2. God, their Creator and Sovereign ; from whom they 
received their being, and to whom their allegiance was 
invariably due, but against whom they had sinned, and 
from whom they had deeply revolted. These fallen 
spirits God willed to save and redeem from impending 
ruin. Such was the nature of their sin, and of his holi- 
ness, that the original union in which man's happiness 
consisted, could not possibly be restored, unless God 
could become such an one as man ; or man be restored 
to the Divine image ; and thus be brought into that 


state of union with him which he had in the beginning. 
Man, who was a rebel, and not even a penitent, could 
not expect to be restored to favour ; and man, who was 
a sinner and full of impurity, could not expect to be 
brought into this union; which could not take place 
without a moral change, that it was utterly impossible 
he should work in himself. 

This Mediator is particularly characterized as the 
Man Christ Jesus. 

(3) God, who willed the salvation of this fallen crea- 
ture, found out a suitable Mediator : for " God so loved 
the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that who- 
soever believeth in him, should not perish, but have 
everlasting life." As the Mediator was the person whose 
business it was to reconcile contending parties, henc ■ 
Suidas explains y.imrt\q, mediator, by upyvoiroioQ, a peace- 
maker. God was justly offended with the crimes of 
men : to restore them to his peace, Jesus became Medi- 
ator. And that Christ might appear to be in every sense 
proper for this office, the apostle adds, The man Christ 
Jesus ; as it was necessary he should be incarnated : and 
thus he who was one with God, in the infinite union 
of an eternal triune Godhead, took upon him the form 
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. 

But we are not to suppose that the mediatorial office 
of Christ did not begin till after his ascension to hea- 
ven, which is the general opinion. Those appearances 
under the patriarchal dispensation, and also under the 
Mosaic, of a glorious personage, sometimes called the 
Angel of the Lord, — the Angel of the Covenant, — an I 
the Captain of the Lord's Host, — who assumes the name 
Jehovah, — and performs acts practicable only by him 
whose power is unlimited, and whose judgments are just ; 
— have been supposed by the wisest of men, to have 
been appearances of Him, in the likeness of man, who 

92 god's willingness to save all men; 

in the fulness of time took upon him the form of a 
man, by being incarnated of the Holy Ghost, in the 
womb of the Virgin Mary. Had man been left just as 
he was when he fell from God, he in all probability 
had been utterly unsalvable ; as he appears to have lost 
all his spiritual light and understanding, and even his 
moral feeling. We have no mean proof of this, in his 
endeavouring to hide himself among the trees of the 
garden, from the presence and eye of him, whom, pre- 
viously to his transgression, he knew to be everywhere pre- 
sent ; to whose eye the darkness and the light are both 
alike ; and who discerns the most secret thoughts of the 
heart of man. Add to this, it appears as if he had neither 
self-abasement nor contrition ; and therefore he charged 
his crime upon the woman, and, indirectly, upon God ; 
while the woman, on her side, charged her delinquency 
upon the serpent. As they were, so would have been 
all their posterity, had not some gracious principle been 
supernaturally restored to enlighten their minds, to give 
them some knowledge of good and evil — of right and 
wrong — of virtue and vice — and thus bring them into a 
salvable state. Now, the gracious Mediator is especially 
said to be "that true Light which lighteth every man that 
cometh into the world," John i. 9 ; and it is from this 
Light that we have conscience : for conscience is neither 
a principle of light, nor a power of discernment ; but a 
recipient subject, which is capable of receiving light, 
and transmitting it to the judgment, in order to enable 
it to form a proper estimate of the moral conduct of 
its owner. It is precisely the same to the soul that 
the eye is to the body. The eye is not light, nor a prin- 
ciple of light, nor can it of itself discern anything ; it is 
a proper recipient of light, without which there is no 
vision. As the sun, or, in his absence, borrowed or arti- 
ficial light, shines upon and through the different hu- 

A DISCOURSE ON I TIM. II. li — (j. 93 

mours of the eye, so objects within the range of vision 
are discerned ; and as Jesus, the true Light, by his Spi- 
rit, shines upon conscience, so a man is capable of form- 
ing a just estimate of his spiritual state. This light is 
both directive and convicting, and affords to every fallen 
soul a grand antagonist power, by which it may resist 
evil ; by the proper use of which, those who are brought 
to God receive more grace ; and for the abuse of which, 
every man shall be judged in the great day. This light, 
Jesus, as Mediator, has imparted to all men, in all ages, 
and in all countiies. It is this saving principle that has 
ever remonstrated against evil, showed man his trans- 
gressions, shone upon his guilt, and convinced him of his 
own helplessness. 

After his ascension, this Mediator appeared, and ever 
appears in the presence of God for us. And thus before 
and after his incarnation, he was the one Mediator be- 
tween God and man. 

As there can be but one God, so there can be but one 
Mediator ; for he who must be Mediator between God 
and man must partake of both natures. Who else could 
appear 'in the presence of God to negotiate the concerns 
of a whole world! We have already seen that Jesus 
the Mediator has all the essential attributes of that God, 
of whose glory he is the brightness, and of whose per- 
son he is the express image : and his incarnation proves 
that he was made man ; and his manner of life, passion, 
and death, manifest that his human nature was pre- 
cisely the same as that of all other men. Thus we find 
two distinct persons in one being ; for in the Man Christ 
Jesus dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. This 
subject is considered by many pious men to be one of 
the greatest mysteries of the Christian religion, and 
should be revered and implicitly received; but is no 
subject for rational investigation. On such subjects as 

94 god's willingness to save all Men; 

these, we perhaps concede too much to those, who, pre- 
tending to believe nothing but what they can rationally 
account for, in fact believe nothing at all. Every attri- 
bute of God may be a subject for reason ; and by reason- 
ing upon his attributes, his being and perfections have 
been demonstrated. 

Reason can even look into his eternity; and when 
comparing that with all the characteristics and affections 
Of time, can at once conceive that it had no beginning, 
can have no end, and is in all considerations illimitable 
and incomprehensible. And He who inhabiteth eternity 
must be necessarily without beginning of days and end of 
time, — infinite, unlimited, independent, and self-existent. 

Thus far reason can acquire a satisfactory view of eter- 
nity, by comparing it with time. Time is duration which 
had a beginning, and will have an end. Eternity is du- 
ration, but differs from time as being without beginning 
and without end. 

Reason, in reference to the incarnation, can at least 
proceed thus : I have an immortal spirit ; it dwells in 
and actuates my mortal body; as then my soul can 
dwell in my body, so could the Deity dwell in the Man 
Christ Jesus. 

He who can believe that Isaiah or any of the prophets 
spoke by inspiration, i. e., as they were moved by the 
Holy Ghost, must believe the possibility of the incarna- 
tion of Christ. And he who can believe it possible, that 
Christ can dwell in the hearts of his followers, can as 
easily believe that the Messiah or Logos, which was in 
the beginning with God, and was God, mas made flesh, 
and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, John i. 14. 
Reason says, if the one were possible, so is the other ; 
and as one is fact, so may the other be also. The possi- 
bility of the thing is evident. God says, the fact has 
taken place ; that, therefore, which faith saw before to 


be possible and probable, it sees now to be certain ; for 
God's testimony added puts all doubts to flight. The 
Lord Jesus, the Almighty's Fellow, was incarnated of 
the Holy Ghost, and was made man ; and by being God 
and Man, was every way qualified to be Mediator be- 
tween God and men, as the text declares him to be, 
God and man met in the person of Jesus Christ ; and 
God was in this Christ reconciling the world to himself. 
In both these cases, Reason, without going out of its 
proper province by meddling with things inconceivable, 
may arrive at such unimpeachable evidence as may 
satisfy honest inquiry, and silence doubt. Some of the 
ancients appear to have thought that the word avQponros, 
man, in the last clause of the verse, was a needless repe- 
tition ; and therefore read the verse thus : There is one 
Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus. But, that 
the term is here repeated with manifest design, and that 
it not only strengthens, but explains the sense, will be 
evident when the fifth verse is considered. Christ Jesus, 
who was from the beginning — who appeared to the pa- 
triarchs — and who spake by the prophets — really became 
Man, that he might be qualified to redeem man. 

Man must always mediate between man and man. — 
Angels would be utterly incapable of such an ofiice ; as 
they could not enter into the feelings, because destitute 
of the sympathies, of human beings. Hence they have 
never been employed in this work ; nor are they em- 
ployed in preaching the gospel, for the very same reason. 
They cannot apprehend as men, they cannot feel as men, 
therefore they would be inappropriate, and even the 
highest of them be useless preachers. God, therefore, 
preaches to man by man ; and when Jesus undertook to 
save men, he took upon him the nature of man. He 
had also the true nature of God ; and as he could, in 
consequence, properly estimate the requisitions of divine 

96 gob's willingness to save all men; 

justice, and feel to the uttermost that the law was holy, 
and the commandment holy, just, and good; so, in 
becoming man, he would feel for the miseries of his bre- 
thren, and thus stand a proper, and everyway duly quali- 
fied, Mediator between God and man : of God, to repre- 
sent his justice to the sinner ; of man, to represent his 
miseries to the Divine Mercy. 

(4) What he did as Mediator, in order to save man, 
is another principle in the system of revealed truth. 

He gave himself a ransom for all. 

His incarnation might have been supposed sufficient 
to answer all the purposes of reconciling men to God. 
Could it be supposed that the good and benevolent God 
would look on those with indifference who were repre- 
sented by so august a person — one who shared their na- 
ture, who assumed it for the very purpose of recommend- 
ing them to God, and who, while he felt the sympathies 
and charities of humanity, was equally concerned for the 
honour and justice of God ; and who, from the perfec- 
tion of his nature, could feel no partialities, nor main- 
tain nor advocate the interests of one, against the 
honour of the other. I believe the reason of man could 
not have gone farther than this. And, had Revelation 
stopped here, reason would have thought the incarna- 
tion was sufficient ; and that even divine justice could 
not have withheld any favour from such an intercessor. 
Even this would have appeared a noble expedient, wor- 
thy of the benevolence of God ; and a sufficient reason 
why he should receive into his favour the beings who 
were by this incarnation united to him, who from eter- 
nity lay in the Father's bosom, and in whom he ever de- 
lighted. But God's ways are not as our ways, nor his 
thoughts as our thoughts. Had man never sinned, and 
was only to be recommended to the divine notice, in 
order to receive favours, or even to obtain eternal life. 


this might have been sufficient : but when he had sinned 
and become a rebel and traitor against his Maker and 
Sovereign, the case was widely different : atonement for 
the offence was indispensably requisite ; in default of 
which, the penalty (fully known to him previously to 
the offence) must be exacted — " In the day thou eatest 
thereof, thou shalt surely die : — for the soul that sinneth, 
it shall die." On this account, the incarnation alone 
could not be sufficient ; nor did it take place in reference 
to this, but in reference to his bearing the penalty due 
to man for his transgression ; for, without being incar- 
nated, he could not have suffered, nor died : hence the 
text adds, who gave himself a ransom for all ; that is, 
who suffered death upon the cross for the redemption of 
the world. 

The word ransom in our language is the same as re- 
demption, or the sum paid for the redemption of a cap- 
tive, and is used in law for the redemption of a capital 
punishment, due by law to any offence : Home, lib. 3, 
cap. De amerciament taxable; and hence the etymo- 
logy of the word ransom — French, ronton, from rendre 
somme, render or give the sum, i. e., what the law re- 
quires for the offence committed. 

The word \vrpov, from \vu>, to loose, or to pay a price, 
has, in Greek, nearly the same meaning; the sum of 
money required to be paid for the redemption of a cap- 
tive, and thus to loose or dissolve the obligation the 
person was under to serve, or to be punished. But the 
word avnXvrpov, used here by the apostle, signifies pro- 
perly, a " corresponding price," or ransom — the redeem- 
ing life by life. Hence Hesychius interprets avrikvrpa, 
by avTiipvxa — " Antilutra signifies those piacular sacri- 
fices in which life is given for life," or the life of one 
redeemed by the life of another ; and this was the true 
notion of sacrifice in all ages, and among all the inha- 

98 god's willingness to save all men; 

bitants of the world. Caesar tells us that it was the 
opinion of the Gauls, among whom human sacrifices 
were prevalent, that " the anger of the immortal gods 
could not be appeased, unless the life of a man was 
redeemed by the life of another." — Quod pro vita homi- 
nis, nisi vita hominis reddatur, non posse aliter deorum 
immortalium numen placari arbitrantur. Com. lib. vi., 
s. 15. Jesus Christ gave his life for the life of the 
world; he laid down his life for the sheep. While we 
were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death 
of his Son ; for he was delivered for our offences, and 
God made his soul (life) an offering for sin. With such 
assertions the Scripture abounds. The same word, avn- 
\vrpov, is rendered by Hesychius avndorov, antidote; 
but this does not signify merely a medicine by which 
poison is counteracted or destroyed ; but one thing given 
in the place of another ; as in the case above, the life 
of Christ given for the life of the world For all — 
that is, for all who had sinned — for all those whose 
nature he had assumed ; for " He took not upon him 
the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham ;" an 
expression, by the way, which has been misunderstood 
and pitifully misrepresented : for it is supposed that by 
the seed of Abraham, the Jewish people are particularly 
represented. But when was the covenant made with 
Abraham— -" In thy seed shall all the nations of the 
earth be blessed?" Was it while he was in circumcision, 
or in uncircumcision ? In uncircumcision, surely, when 
he represented the whole of the children of men — be- 
fore the distinction of Jew and Gentile had ever taken 
place ; and the covenant embraced not only all the na- 
tions, but all the families of the earth ; and is extended 
to every individual of those families, by those solemn 
words of the apostle, " Jesus Christ, by the grace of 
God, tasted death for every man:" Can the Molochian 

\ DISCOURSE ON I TIM. II. 3 6. 99 

doctrine of unconditional reprobation look these Scrip- 
tures, or the incarnated Jesus in the face, and not hasten 
to hide itself in the pit of perdition, from whence it 
arose ! He died for every man : 

" His pardoning grace for all is free — 
For him who forged the dire decree ; 
For every reprobate, and me." 

(5) This glorious system of truth is to be testified in 
due time; and may be thus summed up :— 1. There is 
one God. 2. This God is the Creator of all. 3. He 
has made a revelation of his kindness to all. 4. He will 
have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge 
of the truth. 5. He has provided a Mediator for all. 
And 6. This Mediator gave himself a ransom for all. 
As surely, therefore, as God has created all men, so 
surely has Jesus Christ died for all men. These are 
truths which the nature and revelation of God unequivo- 
cally proclaim ; and which, according to the text, are to 
be testified in due time. 

The original words, to fiaprvpiov icaipoig, iSiotg, are not 
easily interpreted, and have been variously understood. 
The most authentic copies of the Vulgate have, Testi- 
'monium temporibus suis, which Cahnet translates, Ren- 
dant ainsi temoignage au terns marque, " Thus rendering 
testimony at the appointed time." Wakefield translates, 
" The testimony reserved to its proper time." Rosen- 
rmiller, Hcec est doctrina temporibus suis reservata, " This 
is the doctrine which is reserved for its own times ;" 
that is, adds he, qua? suo tempore in omni terrarum orbe 
tradetur, " the doctrine which in its own time shall be 
delivered to all the inhabitants of the earth." Here he 
translates fiaprvpiov, doctrine, and contends that this, not 
testimony, is its meaning, not only in this passage, but in 
1 Cor. i. 6, ii. 1, &c. 

100 god's willingness to save all men; 

Several MSS. read the clause thus: Ov to fiaprvpwv 
icaipotc idioiQ eSoOri, — "the testimony of which was given 
in its own times." The oldest printed copies of the 
Vulgate read the passage thus : Cujus testimonium tem- 
poribus suis confirmation est, " The testimony of which 
is confirmed in its own times;" which our first trans- 
lation renders, SlSEIjos toitncssinge is cottferniDlr tnf)is ttmis. 
This is about the sense : Christ gave himself a ransom 
for all ; this, in the times which seemed best to the 
Divine wisdom, Avas to be testified to every nation, and 
people, and tongue. The apostles had begun this tes- 
timony; and in the course of the Divine economy, it 
has ever since been gradually promulgated, and at pre- 
sent runs with a more rapid course than ever. 

As God wills the salvation of all men, and has given 
a revelation of himself, which he wills that every man 
should hear, understand, and acknowledge ; it is neces- 
sary that the Bible should be sent to every nation and 
people, so that in their respective languages they may 
hear the marvellous works of God. 

This design the present generation appears to under- 
stand better than those who have preceded us. Hence 
the earnest, united, and indeed marvellous efforts made 
by Christians of every denomination, in all countries, to 
send the gospel of Jesus to all the nations of the earth. 
Bibles, in almost all the languages of the universe, 
have been printed in millions, and sent throughout the 

The British and Foreign Bible Society, and its Aux- 
iliaries, in Europe, Asia, and America, have performed 
a work in a few years, which former generations could 
not have believed possible in as many centuries. The 
apocalyptic angel is flying with increasing celerity, in 
the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to 
preach to them that dw 11 upon the earth, and to every 

A DISCOURSE ON I. TIM. II. 3 6. 101 

nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying 
with a loud voice, " Fear God, and give glory to him," 
Rev. xiv. 6, 7 ', so that from the ends of the earth we 
have heard songs, even glory to the righteous. Thus 
the knowledge of God is spreading over the face of 
the globe ; and it appears from the present prospect and 
continued energetic labours of the excellent agents of 
this divine institution, that the Bible Avill shortly be 
found in all the regular languages " of this babbling 
earth." But is this sufficient ? Is it enough merely to 
send the Bible to the different nations of men, so that 
they may all read the word which the Lord God speak- 
eth unto them ? — No : nor was it ever the design of God 
that his work should end here. The Ethiopian eunuch 
had in his hand the prophet Isaiah, and was reading it 
devoutly, even while journeying on the way. To his 
salvation, the messenger of peace was as necessary as 
the writings of the prophet; and therefore God sent the 
evangelist Philip to meet him on the way, and to ask 
the important question, " Understandest thou what thou 
readest ? " — who answered, " How can I, except some 
man should guide me ? " And although he was reading 
of Him " who was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and 
in whose humiliation his judgment was taken away;" 
yet he understood not the truth till Philip, from those 
passages, preached unto him JESUS ! 

The whole economy of grace, in the salvation of men, 
supposes the Bible and the minister of the gospel. The 
Bible is the divine testimony, the Christian missionary 
is the advocate. This testimony he pleads on, applies, 
and enforces, in order to lead men not only to the 
knowledge, but also to the acknowledgment («c tiriyvwaiv) 
of the truth. A man may know the truth without ac- 
knowledging it. To acknowledge it, is not only to allow 
that it is the truth, hut to confess it ; to feel one's own 

102 god's willingness to save all men ; 

interest in it ; to be affected by its contents ; to be 
alarmed by its.threatenings, encouraged by its promises.. 
and influenced by its precepts. The sacred word is in 
general superficially considered ; it is not duly weighed ; 
it requires the strong exhortations of the messengers 
of the gospel to stir up the drowsy and careless. God 
designs that both shall go together ; and hence the age 
that has been distinguished by an unparalleled dissemi- 
nation of Bibles, has been equally conspicuous for mis- 
sionary exertions. In almost every instance where the 
Bible has gone before, the missionary has followed after; 
and to them who have received it, the tenor of his first 
question has been, " Understandest thou what thou 
readest ?" which is the introduction to his preaching unto 
them Jesus. The truth, the gospel of the grace of 
Christ, must be proclaimed to men ; and it is the duty 
of all who know it, to diffuse it far and wide ; and when 
it is made known, it is the duty of those who hear to 
acknowledge and receive it. This is the proper import 
of the original word — that they may come ug tmyvhimv 
a\r)9uai, " to the acknowledgment of the truth ;" that they 
may receive it as the truth, and make it the rule of their 
faith, the director of their life, and the model of then- 

But in reference to this, the man of God — the mis- 
sionary — is indispensably necessary. In general, this 
acknowledgment is brought about only by his means ; 
and what God hath joined together, let not man put 

I have already stated that it is the duty of every man 
who possesses the truth to disseminate it, as far and as 
widely as he possibly can. There are many nations, 
containing many millions of immortal spirits, who are 
perishing for lack of knowledge, and starving for want 
of the bread of life. We have enough and to spare ; 

A DISCOURSE ON I. TIM. II. 3 6. 103 

the means of diffusion are in our power, and we shall 
be highly criminal in the sight of God, if we do not 
use them. God has given the Bible, and God has 
prepared the men. The first has been given by the in- 
spiration of the Almighty — the latter show that they 
have received his commission to take it to the ends of 
the earth. 

There are only two ways in which these messengers of 
peace can be sent to the destitute nations of the world : 
1. By divine supernatural agency. 2. By human means, 
under the direction of Divine Providence. 

1. Among all the extraordinary messengers whom 
God hath sent to announce his will to the nations of the 
earth, there is no genuine evidence that he ever used 
any extraordinary or supernatural means to send any of 
them to the place of his destination. By an especial 
call, he pointed out the men whom he had commis- 
sioned to bear his name among the Gentiles, but he left 
what has been technically called their outfit, to them- 
selves and his people, to be regulated by their own pru- 
dence and benevolence, under the direction of his 
providence. Even Jonah himself, who had such an 
extraordinary commission to minister to the Ninevites, 
was left to choose the ordinary modes of conveyance ; 
and St. Paul and his companions, when sent as extra- 
ordinary messengers to the Gentiles, were brought on 
their way by the brethren, and were obliged in the exe- 
cution of their commission to subject themselves to the 
general difficulties of land journeys, and to the perils of 
ordinary sea voyages. Nor did God choose so particu- 
larly to interfere with the general dispensations of his 
providence, as to prevent even a shipwreck, which oc- 
curred in the ordinary course of things, though he 
exerted his power to preserve the lives of the sailors 

vol. I. p 

104 god's willingness to save all men; 

and passengers, while he left the ship and its cargo to be 
destroyed by the storm. Prophets, apostles, evangelists, 
and all their successors in the sacred history, while they 
had the positive command to go into all the world, and 
preach the gospel to every creature, were left to make 
their way to the places of their destination, by those 
means which their own prudence and the benevolence 
of his people might suggest. 

It is true, we have an ancient account seems to 
be an exception to this apparently general rule, viz., the 
miraculous transportation of the prophet Habakkuk 
from Judea to Babylon (to minister to one of the Jew- 
ish captives in that city), whom, it is said, " the angel 
of the Lord took by the crown, and bare him by the hair 
of his head ; and, through the vehemency of his spirit, 
set him in Babylon;" and when he had accomplished 
his mission, the angel conveyed him back in the same 
manner, and set him in his own place again in Judea ! 
But if no prophet were carried in this miraculous way 
from Judea, to minister salvation to the captives in the 
land of the Chaldeans ; if no apostle were carried mira- 
culously to Syria, to Asia Minor, to Greece, to Rome, 
to the Islands of the Sea, to preach Christ crucified to 
the Gentiles ; we may safely conclude that the prophet 
Habakkuk, who had made a mess of pottage for his 
reapers, was not with it suddenly transported to Baby- 
lon, for the infinitely minor purpose of giving Daniel 
his dinner ! This legend has no higher authority than 
the Apocrypha can confer ; and I leave it where I found 
it, in The Story of Bel and the Dragon,' ver. 33—39- 

2. We are led, therefore, to form the very rational con- 
clusion, that although it is the province of God to pre- 
pare, qualify, and commission the preacher, yet it is the 
duty of his people to equip him for his journey, to find 

A DISCOURSE ON I. TIM. II. 3 6. 105 

the means for his conveyance, to hear his expenses, and 
support him in his work, while he is going forward, 
taking nothing from the Gentiles. 

Now, as there are whole nations in which Satan sits 
enthroned ; as there are, after all that has been done to 
evangelize the earth, many millions of immortal souls 
who know not God who bought them, and are a prey 
to superstition, idolatry, ignorance, cruelty, and wretch- 
edness of every kind ; and as Jesus has tasted death for 
every man, and God wills all men to be saved, and come 
to the knowledge of the truth ; it is the imperious duty 
of every Christian soul — of every human mind — to 
send, as extensively as possible, and with the utmost 
speed, that gospel of God, which is the only cure for all 
these evils. "While we hesitate, multitudes are perishing 
for lack of knowledge. We have not done the whole of 
our duty by merely contributing to the universal diffu- 
sion of the Bible ; this we should do, and not leave the 
other undone. We must send the missionary also, to 
call the attention of the millions, who, if they have 
even the word of life in their own languages, cannot 
read it, to the things which make for their peace, and 
the things whereby they may edify each other. No 
nation ever was, or, humanly speaking, ever can be saved, 
where there is neither a prophet to proclaim the right- 
eousness of the Most High, nor an evangelist to com- 
fort those who labour and are heavy laden, by pointing 
them to that Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of 
the world. 

If any farther arguments or motives can be necessary 
to induce those who have tasted and seen that God is 
gracious, to send, as far as their influence and means can 
reach, the gospel of Jesus to be a light to lighten the 
Gentiles, and salvation to the ends of the earth; let 
them consider the following : 

p 2 

106 god's willingness to sate all men; 

God, who made you, says, " Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength." 
And God, who redeemed you, has said, " Thou shalt do 
so, and love thy neighbour as thyself;" and adds, "There 
is no greater commandment than these ; and on these 
hang all the law and the prophets ;" to which he adds, 
" What you would that men should do to you, do even 
so to them." 

Now, 1. — If we love God, will we not keep his com- 
mandments ? 2. If we love our neighbour as ourselves, 
will we not labour to make him happy ? 3. If we have 
ever felt the gospel to be the power of God to our own 
salvation, will we not endeavour to send it to those who 
are destitute ? 4. If we feel bound to do to others as 
we would wish, on a change of circumstances, they 
should do to us ; then, from what we now know, had 
they the gospel, and we were destitute of it, how ar- 
dently would we desire that they would share with us 
that heavenly bread ! And how hardly should we think 
of them, if they had the blessing of which we were 
destitute, and had the means of sending it, which we 
could not command, if they permitted us to perish while 
they themselves had bread enough and to spare ; and 
giving, however largely, would not lessen their store! 
Think of this, and then act under the influence of that 
conviction which the evidence may bring. 5. There is 
a maxim in law, " That he who neglects to save life, 
when it is in his power to do it, is a murderer, as well as 
he who violently takes it away." What then must God 
and considerate men think of us, if we permit Satan to 
murder those souls which, by the grace of God, it is in 
our power to snatch from the sides of the pit, and pluck 
as brands from the burning? 6. But this subject is 
placed in the strongest point of view by God himself: 
"Son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the 

A DISCOURSE OX I. TIM. II. 3 6. 107 

■house of Israel : therefore thou shalt hear the word at 
my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto 
the wicked, wicked man, thou shalt surely die : if 
thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, 
that wicked man shall die in his iniquity ; but his blood 
will I require at thine hand," Ezek. xxxiii. 7, 8. Will 
not these words apply to every man, whether in Pales- 
tine, England, or elsewhere, who neglects, when it is in 
his power, either personally or by proxy, to turn a sinner 
from the error of his ways ? We find from the above, 
that although the sinner who is not warned shall die in 
his sins, yet his blood shall be required at the hands of 
the negligent watchmen; and may we not infer, that 
the Gentile nations who do not receive that warning 
which it is in the power of Christians to send, will die 
in their sins ? And surely, if they die in their sins, 
where God is they can never come. We know that the 
Gentiles who act according to the dictates of that light 
which lightens every man that cometh into the world, shall 
on their death enter into paradise ; for, in every nation, 
he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is ac- 
cepted of him ; but how many of the Gentiles, in any 
nation of the earth, act up to the dictates of that light ? 
Out of the millions of heathens, .with whom our com- 
merce has brought us acquainted, how few individuals 
have we ever found, who were living according even to 
the general rules of justice, righteousness, and mercy ! 
In millions, scarcely one thoroughly moral character 
appears ! How awful is this consideration ! Let us re- 
member that vice uncurbed daily gains strength; and 
that evil habits become inveterate where there is nothing 
to counteract them. Myriads are annually sacrificed to 
superstition — darkness is perpetuated, and becomes thick 
and gross in consequence — God is not known, and the 
people are led captive by Satan at his will ! Who will 

108 god's willingness to save all men ; 

arise, grapple with the destroyer, and pluck the prey out 
of his teeth ? 

Many excellent men, full of the Holy Ghost and 
power, are on tiptoe, with their lives in their hand, say- 
ing, " Here are we, send us ! send us to the dispersed 
among the Gentiles, to the stupid Hottentots, to the 
savages of New Holland, to the cannibals of New Zea- 
land, to the uttermost parts of the earth, where God our 
Father is not known, where Christ our Saviour is not 
named, where Satan keeps his seat, and where reason 
and the human form are degraded, — constrained by the 
love of Christ, we will freely go. Here we are, the mes- 
sengers of the churches for the glory of Christ." 

After such offers (and, through the mercy of God, 
they are in abundance), these men will be guiltless if 
not sent. But what a reckoning must those have with 
the great Head of the Church, who neglect these calls, 
and will not join hands with God to make the wretched 
live ! Let us all feel and say, " We will not be any 
longer guilty of our brother's blood : and now, go to, 
and we will show that the hand of the Lord is upon us 
for good — that our heart is enlarged — that our hand is 
as ready as our prayers, and that, in the true missionary 
spirit, we consecrate our service this day unto the Lord." 
Amen. Selah. 



Hebrews iv. 16. 

\lpoatp\u>fitQa ouk fitra irapprjaiaQ rtf Qpovtp rj/f %aptTOQ, iva 
\a.p<i>\itv iKtov, /cat %apiv cvpat/uEV uq iVKtupov j3or)9uav. 

•' Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may 
obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Or, " tbat 
we may find grace for timely assistance.") 

The Epistle to the Hebrews is the most important of 
all the epistles, whether of St. Paul or others. It is a 
fine comment on the Old Law, and especially on the temple 
service, the priesthood of Aaron, and the whole sacri- 
ficial system of the Jews. In it the author proves that 
Jesus was the true Messiah, and the end or object of the 
law. He shows, 1. That he was greater than the angels. 
2. Greater than Moses. 3. Greater than Aaron and all 
the high-priests. 4. That every sacrifice under the law 
pointed out his passion and death. And 5. That by the 
shedding of his blood alone, true remission of sins is to 
be found. The epistle was written chiefly to explain and 
illustrate the law — to show the superior advantages of 
the gospel, and to prevent those who had received it from 
apostatizing to Judaism, to which they were strongly 
solicited by the enemies of our Lord. 

As the Jews presumed much on their ecclesiastical 
privileges, the splendour and equipage of their temple 


service, and saw the simplicity of the Christians' service — 
that they had no altar, no temple, no priest, no sacrifice 
for sin, as they had — they would naturally enough address 
the Christians of Palestine thus : " As ye are utterly 
destitute of all those things, without which there can he 
no religion, return to us, who have all these privileges, 
that ye may not die in your deceivings." To meet such 
objections, the apostle, ver. 14, says, " We have a great 
High-priest, who is passed into the heavens, Jesus, the 
Son of God ; let us, therefore, hold fast our profession." 
We have a high-priest ; not a descendant of Aaron, nor 
of any succeeding high-priest; but one much more 
transcendent, Jesus, the Son of God. Aaron and his suc- 
cessors could only pass into the holy of holies, and that 
only once in the year; but Jesus, our high-priest, has 
passed into the heavens, of which that was only the 
type. In this, therefore, our advantages are infinitely 
higher than yours. 

Here is an allusion to the going of the high-priest into 
the holy of holies on the day of atonement. 1. He left 
the congregation of the people. 2. He passed through 
the veil into the holy place, and was not seen even by 
the priests. 3. He entered through the second veil into 
the holy of holies, where was the symbol of' the Divine 
Majesty ; so Jesus, our High-priest, 1. Left the people 
to whom he had been long ministering. 2. He left his 
disciples by ascending through the visible heavens, the 
clouds, as a veil screening him from their sight. 3. 
Having passed through these veils, he went immediately 
to be our intercessor ; thus he passed ovpavovs, the visible 
or ethereal heavens, into the presence of the Divine Ma- 
jesty, through the heavens, Su\r)\v6oTa tovq ovpavovg, the 
empyreum, or heaven of heavens, there to appear in the 
presence of God for us. 

The inference drawn from these considerations and 


facts by the apostle in our text, is exceedingly natural 
and encouraging. Having, therefore, such a High-priest 
now appearing in the presence of God for us, " let us 
come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may ob- 
tain mercy, and find grace," &c. Far from having any- 
thing dismal to apprehend, we have everything excellent 
to expect and anticipate. God is on his throne of grace ; 
Jesus is before it as Mediator, and we may come confi- 
dently up to it, and find a free and full pardon, and a 
plentiful supply of all our wants. 

The allusion to the high-priest and his office on the day 
of atonement is still kept up. The approach mentioned 
here is to the msn kaphoreth, 'iXaanpwv, propitiatory, 
the place of pardon, the place of pacification, or what we 
call mercy-seat. 

This was the covering of the ark of the testimony or 
covenant, at each end of which was a cherub, and between 
them, the shechinah, or symbol of the Divine Majesty, 
which appeared to the high-priests, and out of which God 
conversed with them. Here the great superiority of the 
privileges of the New Testament above those of the Old 
is very apparent. For there the high-priest only, and he 
with fear and trembling, was permitted to approach Him 
who dwelt between the cherubim ; and even this, not 
without the blood of the victim ; and if in anything he 
transgressed, he might expect to be instantly struck with 

The throne of grace in heaven answers to this propiti- 
atory, to which the high-priest alone might approach ; but 
to this throne all may approach who feel their need of 
salvation, and of help in any time of trouble or distress. 
And they may approach para Trappt)<nas, with freedom, 
confidence, and liberty of speech, opposed to the fear and 
trembling of the Jewish high-priest. 

There are too many important particulars here ; to 
p 3 


admit of the text being divided into heads, or thrown int( 
the form of propositions. I shall treat these particular! 
in order. 

I. The address of the apostle is made to two classes o 

1. Those who want mercy. All who feel that thei 
have sinned, and come short of God's glory ; i. e., even 
penitent sinner, every backslider, and every weak be- 
liever, sensible of the remaining corruption of his heart 
and longing for the full salvation of God. 

2. Those who are in circumstances of necessity o: 
affliction, such as are exercised with trials in their family 
poverty in their circumstances, afflictions in their person: 
or relatives, and temptations and diabolical buftetings ii 
their own souls. 

II. To all these God is represented as sitting on th< 
throne of grace. God is great, and of terrible majesti 
everywhere, but particularly on his throne, for that is tht 
seat of judgment, the place whence he dispenses justice 
and from which who has anything to hope ? and wh( 
has not everything to fear ? But in this place it is th< 
throne of grace — the very place of mercy; the sourct 
whence bounty is to issue, and from which all the bless- 
ings of heaven are to be dispensed. On this God is re- 
presented as having sat down, for the mere purpose o: 
dispensing pardon to the penitent, healing to the back- 
slider, purity of heart to the weak believer, succour tc 
the tempted, and suitable help to all the necessitous. 

III. Christ is represented as a priest and intercessor 
before this throne, and also as the sacrificial offering 
itself. Now, there is one consideration of great import- 
ance on this subject, and it is this : Christ assumes those 
characters of priest and sacrifice, in reference to man 
only. With Christ God is ever well pleased ; with all 
that he has done, with all that he has suffered, and with 


the end and object in reference to which he has lived, 
suffered, and died, he is well pleased ; consequently, he 
is well pleased to dispense the benefits of his priesthood 
and sacrificial offering to man. God requires no entreaty 
to induce him to pardon and save ; he is infinitely dis- 
posed to do so ; and he has an infinite reason for this 
disposition. This is a grand principle in theology, and a 
strong encourager of faith. He that believes that God 
is thus disposed to save his soul, and for the reasons 
above mentioned, can neither feel backwardness nor 
difficulty in coming to the throne of grace, in order to 
obtain mercy. All the difficulties on the doctrine of faith 
have arisen from not considering this principle ; and it is 
both painful and shameful to see to what magnitude and 
number these difficulties have been carried. Cases of 
conscience, cases of doubt, motives to faith, encourage- 
ment to weak believers, &c, have been multiplied by 
systematic preachers, and dealers in " bodies of divinity" 
to the great distraction of the church of God, and con- 
fusion of simple souls. And this is occasioned either by 
their not knowing or not attending to the principle laid 
down above. Nothing is plainer than the way of salva- 
tion by faith in Christ, had it not been puzzled and block- 
aded or broken up by the thriftless systems of men. 

IV. The above persons are exhorted to come that they 
may obtain mercy, Iva Xapwvev t\eov, that we may take 
mercy. There is mercy for the taking. All things are 
ready ; God is on the throne of grace, and Jesus is before 
it in his mediatorial and sacerdotal character. What we 
are to receive is mercy ; this is opposed, not so much to 
sin, as to merit. That which is given, for which no equi- 
valent is required or received, is mercy. Not only no 
sinner can have merit, but neither saint nor angel can have 
any. The whole hierarchy of heaven live on the bounty 
of God ; Michael, the archangel, who is like God, has no 


merit — he is a created, and therefore a dependant being ; 
whatever glories or excellencies he possesses, he has them 
from God's unmerited bounty ; he could not deserve his 
own being ; he cannot merit its continuance ; for the 
utmost and constant use of all his powers belongs to God 
his Creator ; and as these powers are God's property, with 
no kind of use or employment of them can he, or any 
created being, have meritorious claims upon him, in whom 
lie lives and moves, and from whom he has his being. 

But man, who has sinned, especially needs mercy. He 
has not only deserved nothing good from God, but he has 
merited destruction. Angels and men have their being 
and support from God's mercy ; all live by it, both in 
heaven and earth. And as this mercy of God is infinite, 
therefore it can hear all claims, receive all the prayers of 
mankind, and supply all the necessities of angels, sinners, 
and saints. 

V This mercy is to be obtained by coming to the throne 
of grace. That coming implies, 1. A consciousness of ne- 
cessity ; 2. A conviction of God's goodness and readi- 
ness to save ; and 3. Faith, that he will give what he has 
j>romised, needs no proof: this is agreed on all hands. 
And to this may be added, 4. Earnestness suitable to 
the pressing necessities of the soul, the urgency of the 
case, and the danger of the situation. Under these con- 
victions, we must come to the throne of grace. 

VI. We are to come also to this throne of grace, that 
we may find grace. The words used by the apostle here 
prove that the person who comes cannot be unsuccessful. 
Where is grace to be sought, but where we know it is to 
be found ? Now grace is to be found at the throne of 
grace. If we knew the place where a lost thing is, or 
where a treasure is deposited, we should naturally look 
there with the fullest conviction of success. Grace sig- 
nifies not only God's favour and approbation, but also such 


divine helps, communications, and influences as are ne- 
cessary to support and build up the soul, and cause it to 
increase with the increase of God. Mercy forgives sin 
and heals backsliding. Grace strengthens and builds 
up the soul. Mercy is laid up at the throne of God for 
every comer ; therefore it is said, " Let us come that we 
may take it." Grace is there laid up, but it must be sought. 
The favour of God may be obtained, but we must seek it ; 
and the way in which we are to come for mercy, and the 
manner in which we are to seek and find grace or favour, 
are matters to us the most interesting and important. 
Let us hear what the apostle directs in this case. 

VII. Let us corne boldly, ptTa 7rappti<nas, with freedom, 
confidence, or liberty of speech, in opposition to the fear 
and trembling of the Jewish high-priest. Here nothing 
is to be feared, provided the heart be right with God, 
truly sincere, and provided with the true victim, which 
is to serve for the great atonement. 

Boldness, as generally used, does not give us the true 
sense of the apostle's word. Boldness signifies, 1. Rash 
and inconsiderate daring, proceeding from pride and vain- 
glory. 2. Courage and heroism, springing from a con- 
sciousness of ability and skill, and a determination to fear 
nothing while in the way of duty and honour. In none 
of these senses can the word be used here. Pride, vain- 
glory, and rashness can have nothing to do in the case of 
a guilty and condemned sinner, a broken-hearted back- 
slider, or a humble, cautious believer. And to such, 
courage and heroism, and the objects on which they act, 
and the ends to which they tend, are equally inappli- 

But confidence, and liberty of speech or address, they 
whom the apostle invites, may fairly assume. 

1. Because they are invited to come. 


2. Because they come in his name, with whom God 
is well pleased. 

And 3. Because they bring that present which is 
worthy of the Majesty and Divinity of the Person to 
whom they approach. In the eastern countries, no man 
can come into the presence of a superior without bring- 
ing a suitable gift ; nor can even one of the nobles 
come into the presence of the monarch, without a suit- 
able present. 

After a similar manner we must approach the majesty 
of God ; and the gift here is, the sacrificial death of 
Jesus Christ ; the Lamb without spot is presented before 
the throne. The offerer is fully convinced of the worth 
and dignity of this present ; hence he brings it with 
confidence, and has full liberty of speech — of prayer and 
supplication before his God. Boldness is here excluded, 
as well as boasting ; but confidence of gaining the divine 
favour for the sake of the offering which he is about to 
make, inspires him with freedom and power to speak in 
his own cause; and plead in his own behalf. Come, 
therefore, with confidence to the throne of grace. Know 
that it is such ; and that He who sits on it is gracious. 
When you approach, you know you have an intercessor 
there ; he will introduce you — he will recommend your 
suit — plead in your behalf — give you full liberty to use 
his name — to appropriate to yourselves the infinite merit 
of his passion and death, his resurrection and mediation ; 
and to avail yourselves of that indescribable nearness he 
has to the Father, as his beloved Son in whom he is well 
pleased ; and his affinity to you, as God manifested in 
the flesh. It is impossible that anything can be added 
to strengthen this confidence ; or, by a more powerful 
argument, to insure a success which, from the above 
considerations, must be certain and absolute. 


VIII. All men in the present life must be frequently 
in danger, necessity, and tribulation. Dangers, from 
which they cannot by their own strength or wisdom 
escape ; necessities, which no prudence or providence 
of theirs can supply ; and tribulations, through which 
it will be impossible for them to pass unless they have 
divine help, both in the water and in the fire. As an 
encouragement therefore to induce them to make tbat 
approach to the throne of grace which is here recom- 
mended, the apostle tells them, they are to find help in 
time of need. The words m- evicaipov fioriQuav, would be 
more literally translated, for timely assistance. My old 
MS. Bible has given a good rendering, &ittr fi'nfce grace in 
rottbntalile deljtf = that is, the grace suited to our neces- 
sities, occasions, and circumstances. 

In other cases, assistance may be procured when the 
case is hopeless ; a post helium auxilium — succour when 
the battle is lost, — a rope thrown from shore, when the 
man is drowned, — .the arrival of the physician when the 
patient is dead ; but God gives help when it is wanted, 
and as it is wanted. 

The word porjOeia is properly enough rendered assist- 
ance, help, or support ; but it implies assistance afforded 
in consequence of the earnest cry of a person in distress ; 
for the word signifies to run at the cry, 9uv ug poriv, or 
tin fioriv Qhv. So even at the throne of grace, or great 
propitiatory, no help can be expected where there is no 
cry ; and where there is no cry there is no felt necessity ; 
for he that feels he is perishing will cry aloud for help ; 
and to such a cry the compassionate High-Priest will 
run with assistance. The time of need is the time in 
which God will show mercy ; nor will he ever delay it 
when it is necessary. We are not to cry to-day, that we 
may be helped to-morrow, or in some future indefinite 


time, or at the hour of death. We are to call for mercy 
and grace when we need them ; and we are to expect to 
receive them when we call. This is a part of our liberty 
or boldness ; roe come up irpoaepxwpiBa, to the throne, 
and call aloud for mercy, and God dispenses the bless- 
ings we then need. 

Divine assistance is continually needed : 1st. To enable 
us to resist and overcome evil. 2ndly. To enable us to 
fulfil properly the duties required of us, for without 
divine help we can do nothing. But 3dly. There are 
peculiar times and circumstances in which we need 
especial help, such as these : 1. Sudden trials. 2. Vio- 
lent temptations. 3. Premature deaths of relatives. 
4. Unforeseen and unexpected losses. 5. Sudden calls 
to extraordinary exertions and to perform duties to which 
we are not accustomed, or to instances of self-abnega- 
tion for which we are but ill prepared. In all such 
cases, if the help be not as sudden as the call, if it be 
not as powerful as the case is arduous, we shall fail in 
the time of trouble, and be wounded in the cloudy and 
dark day. Hence, there should be a continual coming 
in heart and mind to the throne of grace, — a continual 
dependance on the Strong for strength — on the Wise for 
wisdom — and on the Merciful for salvation ; that we 
may be able to stand in the evil day ; and having done 
all, to stand. 

How necessary are these heavenly directions ! How 
much good has been done by attending to them ; and 
how much evil has been sustained by disregarding them ! 
He who has not a tender conscience will not feel his 
continual need of divine help ; and he who does not 
feel this need will not care for a supply ; and he who 
does not call for it, cannot be furnished with it, and 
must therefore fail in the day of battle. 


That neither the apostle's exhortation nor the 
preacher's labour may be lost on us, let us recapitulate 
and consider : — 

1. That there is a throne of grace; that is, a propitia- 
tory ; the place where God and man are to meet. 

2. That this propitiatory, or mercy-seat, is sprinkled 
with the blood of the true victim — that " Lamb of God 
which taketh away the sin of the world." 

3. That we must come up to this throne; and this 
implies faith in the efficacy of the sacrifice. 

4. That we must call aloud or earnestly for his mercy 
and grace, if we expect him to run to our assistance. 

5. That we must feel our spiritual necessities, in order 
to our calling with fervour and earnestness. 

6. That calling thus, we shall infallibly get what we 
want ; for in Christ Jesus, as a sacrificial offering, God 
is ever well pleased ; and he is also well pleased with 
all those who take refuge in the atonement he has 

7- That thus coming, feeling, and calling, we may 
have the utmost confidence ; for we have boldness, liberty 
of access, freedom of speech ; may plead with our Maker 
without fear, and expect all the help his throne can 

8. That Jesus, who hath entered into heaven for us, 
who standeth before the throne, is a merciful High- 
priest, is touched with a feeling of our infirmities, sym- 
pathizes with us in our trials ; and is ever more disposed 
to hear and answer than we are to pray. 

9. That we should expect to be heard and saved, thus 
coming; that we should not doubt of his mercy; and 
we should be resolved to follow on to know the Lord, 
that we may find his goings forth as cheering as the 
morning, and his return as refreshing as the latter rain ; 


and be assured, thus coming, feeling, and calling, that 
he will guide us by his counsel, and at last receiye us 
to glory. 

10. Let those, therefore, who feel themselyes in the 
needful time of trouble, come now with confidence to 
the throne of grace, that they may obtain mercy, and 
find grace to help them in their time of need. 

Hallelujah ! The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. 



Philippian? i. 9 — 11. 

). Kat tovto irpoaeuxojiai, Iva ij ayairri v/itav sri fiaWov \cai 
fiaWov TTtgwatvy iv tiriyviaoti /cat iraay aiaOrjaei' 

10. Ei£ to SoKiftaZtiv Vfiag to. Siatptpovra, iva r]T( tiXiKpivuc 
/cat a7rpo(TB07roi tig rjjxipav Xpicrrou - 

LI. HtTr\r)p<i>fiivoi KapTwv fiacaioovvrjg tuiv Oia \r\aov Xpiarov, 
ug SolZav Kat tnaivov Otov. 

). And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more 
in knowledge and in all judgment : 

10. That ye may approve things that are excellent ; that ye may be 

sincere and without offence till the day of Christ : 

11. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by 
Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. 

It is the duty of the people of God to make prayers, 
supplications, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all 
men ; and as the energetic prayer of a righteous man 
avails much, most people have highly valued the prayers 
sf the godly made in their behalf, and have earnestly 
begged a continual interest in the petitions of such ; and 
all such prayers are valued in proportion to the piety 
and faith of him that offers them ; for intercessory prayer 
will ever be available in proportion to the influence a 
man has with his God. If, then, to have an interest in 


the prayers of a private Christian would he not only 
desirable hut a blessing, surely those of an apostle must 
be invaluable ; as such a person has a nearer intercourse 
with God, and, from his habits of intimacy with his 
Maker, is much more likely to prevail. 

When the people at Philippi heard how their apostle 
prayed for them, what confidence must they have felt in 
prayers thus offered, and what encouragement to expect 
those blessings which were the subject of his prayer ! 
and this must have served to increase their confidence, 
and increase their earnestness at the throne of grace. 
Well might they say, " Paul, the apostle of our Jesus, 
has prayed for us : now let us double our diligence in 
praying for ourselves." 

But there is an essential difference between the prayers 
of inspired men and those of private Christians, how 
good or holy soever they may be ; as the former pray for 
the church and the world according to direct inspiration, 
God having determined to grant the blessings for which 
he excites them to pray. Hence, all such prayers may 
be viewed as direct promises, and claimed as such by 
those in whose behalf they are offered. On this prin- 
ciple, the prayer in the above verses must have been 
considered by the Philippians as containing a series of 
promises, the fulfilment of which they had a right to 
expect, if faithful to the grace by which they were thus 
favoured. " And this I pray, that your love," &c. But 
can we, who live at such a distance from apostolic times, 
take up this prayer in the same light, and expect with 
equal confidence its fulfilment ? This inquiry may be 
fully answered by the following considerations : 1 . The 
Church of Christ is a society of godly people, subsisting 
in various places, through all ages. 2. The Sacred 
Writings were given to the Church of Christ. 3. Those 
writings do not come to a particular people, in a par- 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 — 11. 123 

ticular place; much less to individuals, nominally or 
specifically considered ; but they are sent to characters 
and circumstances. 4. All persons, therefore, of the 
same character, or in the same religious state, and all 
who we in the same circumstances, are those contem- 
plated by the Divine Spirit in the revelation which he 
has given. If, then, we are in the same spiritual state, 
wish for the same blessings, and look to the same 
unchanging God, through that Christ who is the same 
yesterday, to-day, and for ever ; we have an equal interest 
in these promises, may claim their fulfilment, and, con- 
sidering ourselves in the place of the Philippians, receive 
with meekness that engrafted word, which is able to 
make us wise unto salvation. 

Having premised thus much, I shall now consider the 
different parts of this important prayer, in the order in 
which the holy apostle has left them. 

I. " And this I pray, that your love may abound yet 
more and more." These words are founded on that de- 
claration of God, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart;" and our Lord's illustration of it, 
" Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." These being 
the two great commandments, it has been justly under- 
stood that this love is the essence of all religion ; as it 
has been declared by divine authority, that it is the ful- 
filling of the law. But few have attempted to show the 
reason why it is so. The mouths of all are full of the 
assertions, " There is no religion without love." " The 
Christian religion is the religion of love." " All religion 
is comprised in love." All this I grant ; but on what is 
this founded ? Why may not the Christian religion be 
called the religion of faith — or of hope — or of humility, 
or of any other virtue ? Where can we find an answer 
to these questions ? I will attempt to give the reason 
on which this is founded. 


II. In order to this, I must make four assertions, 
neither of which, nor the inference drawn from it, will 
be disputed. They refer to the state of man, who, made 
originally perfect by a perfect and holy Being, is not 
now in the state in which God created him : — 

1. He is profligate in his practices ; he is a sinner, and 
lives in the habitual breach of God's holy law. 

2. This wickedness in his practices, proves him evil in 
his affections; for out of the heart proceed murders, 
adulteries, thefts, and sins of all kinds. 

3. These evil affections argue wicked motives ; for 
even' a passion that is disposed to evil, will not act with- 
out an exciting influence. 

4. A motive implies a mover ; and an evil motive, an 
evil principle as mover. Now the great question is, what 
is this evil principle ? 

III. The first view of the effects of this principle's 
working, proves that it is something opposed to the 
government of God, and to the love of our fellow-crea- 
ture. It is generally termed sin ; but sin, considered in 
itself, is rather a want of heavenly excellence, than a posi- 
tive principle ; for it is only when it is described in its 
effects that it can be stated to be the transgression of the 
law. But an evil principle is still wanting to account 
for the conduct of men ; they act so often, not only in 
opposition to God and to each other, but also to them- 
selves. The general conduct of men is most demon- 
strably in hostility to their own interests. They are 
running themselves out of breath for no prize ; they are 
labouring to make themselves wretched ; and by their 
unhappy success, moral and natural evil is multiplied in 
the earth. 

Man, not satisfied with destroying his fellows, to whom 
he is a most inveterate foe, destroys also himself — makes 
his own life wretched, shortens his days, and ruins his 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 11. 125 

own soul ! His conduct, therefore, is not only unholy, 
but it is unnatural. Reason, therefore, can be no direc- 
tor of his ways ; and even the voice of self-preservation, 
which is said to be the first law of nature, is scarcely 
ever heard, except in the apprehension of some imme- 
diate danger, in which life is most obviously concerned. 
Nay, he even sins against his own conviction — he knows 
he is doing wrong, and yet does it. He resolves against 
it, and is yet overcome, and often laments that there is 
an evil energy working in him, more powerful than his 
reason, and in many cases paramount to his own will ; 
for often, when he would do good, evil is present with 
him ; and the good that he would do he finds not power 
to perform. Thus he is brought under bondage to the 
law of sin and death. 

This principle the Holy Scripture terms, the Devil or 
Satan, " in whom," it says, " the whole world lieth" — . 
which " deceiveth the whole world, and ruleth in the 
hearts of the children of disobedience." I know it is 
fashionable in some to deny the existence of this evil 
principle ; but as those persons deny the whole of Divine 
Revelation, which they have laboured in vain to disprove, 
they are worthy of no regard. They are generally men 
of desperate characters, and desperate fortunes ; and as 
they will not listen to the voice of reason, nor the Sacred 
Oracles, they must be left to their own desperation. 
Satan, who works in the hearts of the children of dis- 
obedience, possesses himself of the corrupt nature of 
man ; produces bad motives in a bad heart, blinds the 
understanding, excites irregular appetites, and thence 
bad tempers, evil words, and unholy actions. 

This spirit is opposed to the government of God and 
the happiness of man ; it is enmity to God and hatred 
to man ; and its opposite is love to both. 


IV. Love, therefore, is the principle that is to destroy 
this enmity. But this love is not the passion that is 
generated in the heart by the sight or description of 
what is amiable, in reference to animal gratification ; or, 
as it is defined, passionate affection. Such love is a 
mere human passion; but that of which the apostle 
speaks is a principle, or rather the effect of an energetic 
spiritual principle. It is, in a word, the love of God ; a 
love which he inspires, and by which the divine nature 
is pointed out to us, in those remarkable words of the 
apostle, " God is love ; and he who dwelleth in love, 
dwelleth in God, and God in him." It is a principle 
that produces harmony, order, and all that is benevolent 
and beneficent ; in a word, it is the principle of purity 
and righteousness, — it leads to these excellencies, — lays 
strong hold on and excites the energies by which they 
are produced, — it is ever attached to them, prefers them 
to all things else, and is wholly wrapped up in them. 
It is the pure, righteous, and benevolent principle, by 
which God ever acts in all his dispensations to man, and 
in all his operations in man. It has nothing therefore 
to do with that earthly animal passion, so well known 
and celebrated among men. The principle that expels 
evil is the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the 
Holy Ghost. And the Holy Spirit is the agent who 
directs the operations of this principle of love to the 
expulsion of the principle of hatred. Love, the oppo- 
site to this enmity and hatred, is implanted in the heart ; 
and thus the evil that leads to all misrule, rebellion, and 
sin, is cast out ; and love, that dictates nothing but what is 
in accordance to the divine will and law, takes its place ; 
and hence, complete subjection to God, and every act of 
benevolence to man. Thus the love of God, begetting 
love to God, is the sum and substance of all religion, and 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 11. 127 

the fulfilling of the law ; because it expels that hatred 
or enmity, that carnal mind, which is not subject to the 
law of God, neither indeed can be. 

This love is the incentive to all obedience ; for he that 
loves God keeps his commandments ; and to such his 
commandments are not grievous ; for to please those 
whom we love, is natural to love itself. This love is the 
religion of the Bible — love to God and our fellows ; 
breathing nothing but glory to God in the highest, and 
on earth peace, and good will among men. Here then is 
the reason why religion is called love ; it expels and 
destroys the principle of hatred and enmity, and restores 
harmony, order, purity, righteousness, and piety ; bene- 
volence to man, and reverential obedience. Such love 
must be the fulfilling of the law. 

V. The apostle prays that this " love may abound 
more and more" — that the influence should become 
greater — the government more extended — and the energy 
more active; iva iripia/rtvy — this is a metaphor taken 
from a river greatly swollen by an accession of rain and 
land-floods, till it fills its channel, overflows its banks, 
and inundates all the adjacent plains. This love can 
grow and increase ; it is a sacred leaven that assimilates 
everything to itself; and the more we believe, love, and 
obey, the more power we shall have in believing, loving, 
and obeying. Every talent that God gives is increased 
by use : Use grace, and have grace, was a maxim of our 
religious ancestors. 

VI. The manner in which this love is to abound, and 
manifest itself, is next to be considered. " In know- 
ledge," says the apostle, " and in all judgment," iv nri- 
yvixxrii, Ka» iracy atoQtjou. These point out the constitution 
of the grand principle of acquisition. 

1 . In knowledge. Knowledge signifies the information 
gained by trial or experiment; by lectures, discourses, 
vol. i. « 


conversation, and reasoning on any particular subject ; 
but here theology, as a science, is particularly concerned. 
He that wishes to excel, and be what the apostle prays 
that the Philippians might be (especially while now the 
means of spiritual knowledge are so many, and blas- 
phemy against the truth so common), must acquaint 
himself well with the being and nature of God ; who 
this Being is, and the arguments by which his existence 
is proved. 

(1) Those a priori — which demonstrate the necessity 
that such a Being must exist. That there must have 
been one eternal, unoriginated, and self-subsistent Being ; 
and that it is utterly impossible that such a Being could 
not have eternally subsisted. 

(2) By arguments drawn a posteriori — i. e., from 
things which we see to exist, the manner of this ex- 
isting, and the end for which they do exist. This com- 
prehends all the works of creation, and the providence 
by which they are governed and sustained. 

1. The number, magnitude, constituent parts, laws, 
and modes of existing of bodies in the visible Heavens 
— sun, moon, planets, stars, &c. ; their revolutions, va- 
rious affections, distances, nature, solid contents, mutual 
relations, connexions, and dependances, gravitation, and 
usefulness; all these afford a series of arguments, the 
most satisfactory and convincing, of the being, know- 
ledge, skill, power, and goodness of God. See Sermon 
I., p. 15, et seq. 

2. The Earth and its productions : vegetation — the 
great variety of trees, plants, flowers ; their hues, odours, 
savours, or tastes, medical and culinary uses, &c. Ani- 
mals — man, beasts, birds, fishes; their nature, habits, 
properties, instincts, uses, all arguing the profound skill, 
wisdom, power, and goodness of that Being, of whose 
goodness and bounty the earth is full. 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 11. 129 

In these days, when blasphemy stalks abroad un- 
masked, and the Bible is treated with malicious and 
Satanic indignity, every Christian who has it in his 
power, and especially every Christian minister, should 
acquaint himself with these arguments. If we cannot 
know all these in detail, we should acknowledge them 
in aggregate, from the conviction that God is holy, 
powerful, wise, and good, and that he has done all things 
well. And this is probably what the apostle has parti- 
cularly in view, as he uses the word tv nriyvwau, which 
signifies acknowledgment. Every man is bound to ac- 
knowledge God, as far as he knows him; and every 
man is bound to know God as far as he can. Should it 
be objected, that all the above points could not have 
been recommended to the church at Philippi, because 
they could not have the opportunity of gaining this 
knowledge, I answer, The prayer of the apostle had not 
for its object exclusively the Christians at Philippi ; it 
has us also in view, and all to whom this epistle shall 
come, to the end of the world. And there are few per- 
sons at present, in these lands, who may not, at a very 
small expense, and with little labour, gain a general and 
satisfactory knowledge of all the points mentioned above. 
See Paley's Evidences, and Dr. Derham's works; and 
•particularly those publications of the Society for the dif- 
fusion of Useful Knowledge that relate to these subjects. 
But besides those things that relate to God, and his 
works of creation and providence, there are other mat- 
ters of great importance in the science of theology, in 
which our love should increase more and more in know- 

1. God's revelation of himself in the Old Testament, 
the Law, the Prophets, and all the other holy writings. 
In these God is seen in his purity, majesty, and omni- 



2. His revelation of himself in the New Testament, 
and particularly by Jesus Christ. The history of this 
glorious Person, his birth, preaching, miracles, death, 
and the proofs of .all these, by testimony and by facts. 
His mission of the Holy Spirit, proved in the same way. 
The proofs of the divine authenticity of the Christian 
Scriptures, by evident fulfilment of prophecy, testimony 
of friends and foes, internal and external evidence, the 
duration of the church of Christ, and the divine power 
that still accompanies the ministration of the word. All 
these things should be known, and all should be ac- 
knowledged; and when the general proofs of these 
things are held in memory, we have then the knowledge 
of the theory of religion ; and this satisfies the mind as 
to the truth and divine origin of the sacred volumes, 
and the religion founded on them. But thus far it is 
only a science ; and may be known and acknowledged, 
without producing those salutary effects in which the 
salvation of the soul is concerned. Hence the apostle 
adds : — 

VII. In all judgment — tv iraay awOqau — in all sense, 
as more properly expressed in the margin of our Bibles ; 
and which must here signify all spiritual perception and 
moral feeling. "Wiclif translates it wit; Coverdale, 
experience; Matthews, feeling ; and Wesley, spiritual 
sense. In this last sense it certainly agrees best with 
the scope of the place, and appears to be the apostle's 
meaning : — 

1. Spiritual sense produces what is called experi- 
mental religion — the life of God in the soul of man. 
This mental perception, or heart -feeling, answers in re- 
ligion to palpable experience in philosophy, A simple 
conviction, and knowledge of bodies and their properties, 
is widely different from this spiritual feeling. By the 
sense of feeling we gain a knowledge or perception of 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 11. 131 

bodies and their qualities ; of hard, soft, wet, dry, cold, 
hot, and other tangible properties; yet this gives us no 
mental feeling of those qualities, so as to demonstrate 
their truth. But that which is mentioned by the apostle 
implies this feeling, this mental, internal sense ; and in 
this consists the great difference between theoretical and 
experimental religion. 

2. The apostle, in another place, explains this spiri- 
tual sense in one word : " And because ye are sons, God 
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, 
crying, Abba, Father. For the Spirit himself beareth 
witness with our spirits, that we are the children of 
God." Now the fact to be witnessed is beyond the 
knowledge of man; no human power or cunning can 
acquire it ; if obtained at all, it must come from above. 
In this human wit and ingenuity can do nothing. The 
Spirit himself comes to tell us that we are reconciled to 
God — that our sins are blotted out — that we are adopted 
into the family of heaven. The apostle tells us that 
this is witnessed by the Spirit of God. God alone can 
tell whom he has accepted — whose sins he has blotted 
out — whom he has put among his children ; this he 
makes known by his Spirit, in our spirit ; so that we 
have, not by induction or inference, a thorough con- 
viction and mental feeling that we are his children. 

3. There is as great a difference between this and 
knowledge gained by logical argument, as there is be- 
tween hypothesis and experiment. Hypothesis states 
that a thing may be so : experiment alone proves the 
hypothesis to be true or false. By the first, we think 
the thing to be possible or likely; by the latter, we 
know, experience, or prove by practical trial, that the 
matter is true or is false, as the case may be. 

VIII. Now this knowledge and spiritual feeling are 
given us, to the end that we may approve things that an 


excellent — tig to SoKifialuv ra faatyipovTa — that we may try 
— practically examine, the things that differ ; that is, 
that differ from those things mentioned above, viz., the 
knowledge and spiritual sense or feeling. When a man 
is rooted and grounded in the true knowledge of God 
and sacred things, he knows whatsoever is presented to 
himself, whether it be truth or error, in reference to the 
experimental knowledge of salvation, by faith in Christ. 

1. They know whatsoever is contrary to that work. 

2. "Whatsoever is contrary to that spirit. And, 

3. By this all impressions on the imagination are 
tried; and by their nature and tendency they know, 
(1) Whatsoever comes from God. (2) Whatsoever 
comes from mere nature ; and, (3) Whatsoever comes 
from Satan. 

(1) What comes from God is not only pure and holy, 
but leads directly to him, in faith, love, and obedience. 

(2) Whatever comes from mere nature leads to ani- 
mal gratification, never raising the man above himself, 
nor above animal and earthly things. 

(3) What comes from Satan leads from subordination 
to God, and from benevolence and beneficence to man ; 
to envy, hatred, and malice, and to all uncharitable- 

Thus they see the things that differ, and avoid them 
as strange, untried, and unsafe. They see the things 
that are excellent, and approve them, and attach them- 
selves to them; striving to grow in grace, and in the 
knowledge of God ; every day labouring to excel their 
former selves. " They put to proof the things that are 
more profitable," as the words may be translated ; and 
having proved them, profit by them themselves, and 
thus become profitable to others. 

IX. But besides this power of knowing and discern- 
ing, so as to prevent mental aberration from the truth, 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 — 11. 133 

and defection of the heart from experimental godliness, 
this knowledge and spiritual feeling are given to regulate 
both heart and life; therefore the apostle adds, "That 
ye may be sincere, and without offence, till the day of 
Christ." There are two points to be considered here. 
1st. The state of the heart before God : That ye may be 
sincere. 2nd. The state of the life before men : That 
ye may be without offence. 

1st. That ye may be sincere, likiKpivug. The word 
fiXwpii'ije, sincere, or uXacpivua, sincerity, are compound 
words, and come from u\t), the splendour of the sun, and 
icpivio, I judge : " a fine word," says old Mr. Leigh. " It 
is a metaphor taken from the usual practice of chapmen, 
in the view and choice of their wares, that bring them 
forth into the light, and hold up the cloth against the 
sun, to see if they can espy any default in it. Or else 
from such things as are purged and clarified by the light 
and heat of the sun, from the gross matter that is in 
them. As the sun discovers motes and atoms, so let 
your hearts be genuine, that the inwardest light may 
not discover motes which appear in others." When 
stuffs are held up between the eye and the sun, not only 
flaws are easily seen, but the threads and general con- 
texture of the cloth, whether even or uneven, whether 
carelessly or well woven, may be at once discerned. 
True believers will never rest, till the thoughts of their 
hearts are purified by the inspiration of God's Holy 
Spirit, so that they may perfectly love and worthily 
magnify his name. 

Our word sincere, and sincerity, is also a metaphor 
taken from clarified honey, mel incerum; that is, mel 
sine cerd — honey without wax; that from which the 
wax has been entirely separated, so that nothing of the 
comb, nothing impure or gross, can be detected in it. 
For such a state of grace and purity, the apostle prays 


in. behalf of the Philippians ; and had the attainment of 
such a state of grace in this life been impossible, the 
Holy Spirit would never have inspired the heart of the 
apostle to pray for it. 

2nd. That ye may be without offence, cnrpoaicoTroi, from 
a, negative, and fl-poo-icojnj, a stumbling-block; that ye 
neither stumble nor be stumbled ; neither take offence 
nor give offence ; that ye walk so, that your example, 
instead of deterring men from the truth, may excite 
them to seek it; and that your whole life may be a 
correct and instructive comment on the holy creed which 
you have professed to receive. A man may dishonour 
religion and hurt his own soul, either by taking or 
giving offence ; either of them will lead him out of the 
way of understanding, and this will soon bring him into 
the congregation of the dead. Purity within will pro- 
duce righteousness without. When the apostle prays 
that they may be sincere and without offence, he prays 
that their heart may be always right before God, and 
their conduct always unblamable before men. These two 
constitute the character of the perfect Christian ; the 
character of him in whose heart Christ dwells by faith, 
and whose actions are governed by the law of love to 
God and man. 

This purity is not to last for a day, or a particular 
time merely, but during the whole of life — till the day of 
Christ; i. e., the day in which Christ shall come to 
judge the world. Hence we see, from the most obvious 
construction of the word, that a deliverance from all sin 
is held out to believers in this life. No intimation that 
they shall receive this heavenly gift either in the hour 
of death or in the day of judgment. The deliverance 
of the soul from all the contagion and contamination of 
sin may be as complete in this life, as the justification of 
the conscience from all the guilt of sin. We have re- 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 — 11. 135 

demption in his blood, the forgiveness of sins ; and that 
blood cleanseth from all unrighteousness. 

X. But wherever this inward change, this heavenly 
work is wrought, it will be manifest in the life and con- 
versation — in all the words, works, and tempers of the 
regenerated man. Hence, says the apostle, " being filled 
with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus 
Christ, to the glory and praise of God." 

1. They now have righteousness — they are made par- 
takers of the divine nature. They have a righteous 
principle in every power of their souls, and in every 
affection and passion of their hearts. It is not enough 
that they are saved from sin, but they must he filled with 
righteousness. To empty and to fill are distinct opera- 
tions of the Spirit of God. He first casts out sin ; this 
he can do in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye ; but 
the filling with righteousness is a progressive work, for 
the man is to increase more and more in knowledge ; 
and as his increase in love depends on his increase in 
knowledge, and knowledge must be, from its very 
nature, gradually received ; hence his growth in grace is 
gradual. In a moment he may be emptied of sin, and 
wherever evil was, there will a seed of righteousness be 
deposited; but that seed will require time to vegetate 
and grow ; and as these seeds grow, so the powers of 
the soul expand ; and in this way the immortal spirit 
may grow in holiness and excellence to all eternity. 
Being emptied of all sin is a small matter, when com- 
pared with being filled with God, or with all the fruits 
of righteousness. 

By righteousness, we may understand, in a general 
sense, the whole work of the Spirit of God in the soul ; 
and by the fruits of righteousness, all holy tempers, holy 
words, and right actions; and with these the apostle 
prays that they may bejUled, 7rnr\t)pb>iitvoi, filled up, filled 



full, no place being left for Satan or sin. Christ dwell- 
ing in their heart by faith ; being all in all, and all in 
every part. 

2. The fruits of righteousness imply the seeds sown, 
and these watered by the dew of heaven from above, 
and influenced to their spiritual vegetation by the con- 
tinual rays of the Sun of righteousness. In vain does 
the sun shine on the field where no seed has been sown ; 
and in vain is the seed sown, if the sun do not shine 
upon it, and the early and latter rains do not descend in 
their season. And it must be wholly a right seed to 
grow at all, and the ground must be well cultivated, and 
kept clean from weeds, that the seed, having a proper 
soil, may grow ; and the ground being kept clean, that 
the seed may not be choked, and so become unfruitful. 

3. Nothing can produce the fruits of righteousness but 
the seed of the kingdom, and this can grow nowhere but 
in good ground ; and the good ground, our Lord tells us, 
is an honest and good heart ; and this honest and good 
heart becomes such, by being sufficiently -ploughed and 
broken up by that repentance that is according to God, 
which produces the broken and contrite heart, the sigh- 
ings of which God will not despise. In a word, they are 
to be filled with the fruits of righteousness : — 1. Their 
hearts are to be filled with righteous purposes, and holy 
and merciful resolutions ; to produce the effects of which, 
the heart, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, feels 
continual tendencies ; and 2. In consequence, their lives 
are filled up with the works themselves : and hence, the 
word fl-6ir\»jpw/«i'oi, filled up, completely filled, — or, as we 
would express it in homely phrase, brimful, running 

XI. Lest any should imagine that this state of inter- 
nal purity and external righteousness could be obtained 
by any efforts of man, or acquired by repeated acts, 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 — 11. 137 

which in the end might produce habits, and these a 
system of righteousness; the apostle takes care to re- 
mark, that all these blessings, moral changes, gracious 
dispositions, holy tempers, righteous actions, &c, are by 
Jesus Christ. Without him nothing is strong, or wise, 
or holy. No man could have either grace or space to 
repent, were it not for him. His sacrificial death alone 
is the cause why the sword of justice has not cut off 
every sinner. It is through his intercession that any 
transgressor or backslider is spared ; by and through his 
merits the long-suffering of God is exercised towards 
men, and they are thereby led to repentance. It is by 
the power of his word and Spirit that repentance and deep 
contrition for sin are produced in the heart. It is through 
his passion and death alone that the penitent is recon- 
ciled to God, and receives the remission of his sins. It 
is the Spirit of Jesus Christ that witnesses with ours, 
that we are children^of God. It is his blood that cleans- 
eth from all unrighteousness. And it is by his dwelling 
in our hearts by faith that we are rooted and grounded 
in love, and are filled with all the fulness of God. He 
is the Beginner of our salvation, the Continuer and the 
Finisher of our faith. It is by him that we devise what 
is holy, and by him that we perform what is good. We 
are accepted through him, because purchased by him ; 
and finally glorified together with him. Thus our whole 
salvation is through and by him ; and if we overcome 
by his blood, it is that we may sit down on his throne, 
as he has overcome and sat down with the Father upon 
the Father's throne. Thus, of him, and through him, 
and to him are all things ; and to him be glory and do- 
minion for ever and ever. Amen. 

XII. Finally, we see here the ultimate end proposed 
— the glory and praise of God. 1. God made man for 
his own glory ; not to increase that glory, for it is infi- 


nite and eternal, and cannot be increased ; but to mani- 
fest that glory. And God's glory is manifested when 
that which is agreeable to his nature is accomplished, 
so as to appear to angels and men. The greater the 
work of redemption on the earth, the greater display 
there is of the glorious power, holiness, justice, goodness, 
and truth of God. Even the salvation of one sinner is 
an exhibition of God's glory; it "shows the availableness 
of the incarnation and death of Christ. It shows, thus 
far, the accomplishment of the end for which Christ 
died. For these triumphs of his love and mercy, God 
is honoured and praised. He is honoured when the 
work of his grace thus appears to men in the fruits of 
righteousness ; and God is praised by all the faithful, 
when his work thus appears. Every genuine follower 
of God has the glory of his heavenly Father in view in 
all that he does, says, or intends. He is not his own, 
and therefore he sees the reasonableness of glorifying 
God with his body and his spirit which are his. Such 
study to glorify their God; they do glorify him by show- 
ing forth in their conversion and godly life, the glorious 
working of the glorious power of the Lord. 2. Thus, 
the great end for which man was created, preserved, and 
redeemed, is accomplished. God's glory is secured ; 
Jesus sees of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied ; the 
Angels rejoice in the accession of redeemed souls, coming 
from the church militant to the church triumphant ; and 
God, to all eternity, receives the praise that is due to the 
glory of his grace. 

And now, reader, art thou willing to have this apos- 
tolic prayer fulfilled to thee ? Art thou weary of that 
carnal mind which is enmity to God ? Canst thou be 
happy whilst thou art unholy ? Dost thou know any- 
thing of God's love to thee ? Dost thou not know that 
he has given his Son to die for thee ? Dost thou love 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. I. 9 11. 139 

him in return for his love ? Hast thou even a little love 
to him ? And canst thou love him a little, without de- 
siring to love him more ? Dost thou not feel that thy 
happiness grows in proportion to thy love and subjec- 
tion to him ? Dost thou not wish to be happy ? And 
dost thou not know that holiness and happiness are as 
inseparable as sin and misery ? Canst thou have too 
much happiness or too much holiness ? Canst thou be 
made holy and happy too soon ? Art thou not weary of 
a sinful heart ? Are not thy bad tempers, anger, peevish- 
ness, fretfulness, covetousness, and the various unholy 
passions that too often agitate thy soul, a source of misery 
and woe to thee ? And canst thou be unwilling to have 
them destroyed? Arise, then, and shake thyself from 
the dust, and call upon thy God ! His ear is not heavy, 
that it cannot hear ; his hand is not shortened, that it 
cannot save. Behold, now is the accepted time ; now 
is the day of salvation. It was necessary that Jesus 
Christ should die for thee, that thou mightest be saved ; 
but he gave up his life for thee 1800 years ago ! And 
himself invites thee to come, for all things are now ready. 
Such is the nature of God, that he cannot be more will- 
ing to save thee in any future time, than he is now. 
He wills that thou shouldst love him now, with all thy 
heart ; but he knows that thou canst not thus love him 
till the enmity of the carnal mind is removed ; and this 
he is willing this moment to destroy. The power of the 
Lord is therefore present to heal. Turn from every sin, 
give up every idol, cut off every right hand, pluck out 
every right eye. Be willing to part with thy enemies, 
that thou mayst receive thy Chief Friend. Thy day is 
far spent, the night is at hand, the graves are ready for 
thee, and here thou hast no abiding city. A month, a 
week, a day, an hour, yea, even a moment, may send 
thee into eternity. And if tbou die in thy sins, where 


God is, thou shalt never come. Do not expect redemp- 
tion in death. It can do nothing for thee — even under 
the best consideration ; it is thy last enemy. Remember 
then that nothing but the blood of Jesus can cleanse thee 
from all unrighteousness. Lay hold, therefore, on the 
hope that is set before thee, re-echo the apostle's prayer, 
and apply it to thyself. The gate may appear strait, but 
strive, and thou shalt pass through ! Come unto me, says 
Jesus ; hear his voice, believe at all risks, and struggle 
into God ! Amen and Amen, 




Romans, i. 16, 17. 

16. •' For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is 
the power of God unto salvation to everyone that helieveth ; to the 
Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

17. " For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith 
to faith ; as it is written, The just shall live by faith." 

There is no case on record that affords a more deci- 
sive proof of the truth of Christianity, than that of the 
conyersion of Saul of Tarsus, afterwards called Paul, and 
constituted by Christ the apostle of the Gentiles. It is 
a maxim among men, never to risk the loss of a present 
advantage, unless there he a good prospect and moral cer- 
tainty of gaining another vastly superior in value. Paul 
had lineage, civil rights, learning, influence, credit, au- 
thority, and power. Such was the state of Christianity 
in his time, that he who embraced it lost the benefit of 
all these, and forfeited his character in civil and religious 
society. This man was also zealously attached to his re- 
ligious opinions, the religion of his country, and the tra- 
ditions of his fathers. To change all these for the cross 
of Christ, for poverty, want, obloquy, pain, persecution, 
and death in its worst forms, could never be a matter of 
rational choice. That he did count them all as dross and 

142 st. Paul's glorying; 

dung that he might gain Christ, is an indisputable fact. 
But how was this most extraordinary revolution of sen- 
timent brought about, without one worldly consideration 
to prompt or sustain it ? Here is a mystery which no- 
thing but his own confession, and a subsequently long 
life of pains, labours, unparalleled writings, and finally 
a martyr's death, can properly account for and illustrate. 
He was convinced of the truth and excellence of the 
Christian religion, by feeling it to be the power of God to 
his salvation ; and on this account he was, not only not 
ashamed of it, but gloried in it, and cheerfully sealed its 
truth with his blood. 

In considering the general subject of the text, I shall 

I. What is the Gospel of Christ ? 

II. "Why was the apostle not ashamed of it ? — It 
brought him salvation. 

III. What was the agency by which the saving ten- 
dency of the gospel is applied ? — The power of God. 

IV. For whom were these benefits designed ? — Jews 
and Gentiles. 

V. How are they secured and rendered ultimately be- 
neficial ? — By faith. 

VI. By Exhortation. 

I. What is the gospel of Christ ? 

1. The history of the incarnation of our blessed Lord, 
including — 1. His immaculate conception. 2. His ex- 
traordinary birth. 3. His miracles and preaching. 4. 
His sufferings and death. 5. His resurrection and tri- 
umphant ascension to heaven. 

2. The end for which all this was undertaken. 1. To 
make an atonement for the sin of the world. 2. To 
blot out the sins of all that repent and believe on him. 

3. To make men partakers of the divine nature. And 

4. Finally take them to glory. 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 1J. 143 

3. The doctrine of Christ crucified : or the good news 
(ivayytXiov) that God wills all to be saved, and come to 
the knowledge of the truth : — that truth which states 
that Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for 
every man. 

With other acceptations it is not necessary to meddle. 

II. Of this gospel, the apostle says he is not ashamed- 
What were the reasons ? This assertion will receive 
light from Isai. xxviii. 16, and xlix. 23, quoted by the 
apostle, chap. x. 11, of this epistle, "For the Scripture 
saith, Whosoever believeth on him, shall not be ashamed, 
nor confounded." This is spoken in particular reference 
to the Jews, that they might be reproved — to the Gen- 
tiles, that they might be encouraged. 

The Jews, by not believing on Jesus Christ, and not 
receiving him as the promised Messiah, but trusting in 
others, have been disappointed of their hope, ashamed 
and confounded from that time to the present day. Their 
expectation is cut off: — and while rejecting Christ, and 
expecting another Messiah, they have continued under 
the displeasure of God, and are ashamed of their confi- 

On the other hand, those who have believed on Christ, 
whether Jews or Gentiles, had, in and through him, all 
the blessings of which the prophets spoke : for the pro- 
mises of God in the Old Testament, are yea and amen 
through him. Paul, as a Jew, believed on Jesus Christ ; 
and in believing, had life through his name : Christ 
dwelt in his heart by faith, and he was made unspeak- 
ably happy by the atonement which he had received, and 
the diffusion of the Spirit of holiness through his soul ; 
therefore, he could cheerfully say, I am not ashamed of 
the Gospel of Christ. And why ? Because he felt it to 
be the power of God to his salvation. 

Without this demonstration of its truth and excel- 



lence, is there not something in the gospel itself calcu- 
lated to make its professors ashamed'? 1. The immacu- 
late conception of our Lord. We know how this has 
been blasphemously represented by the Jews of old ; and 
indeed by them and by many other infidels, to the pre- 
sent day. 2. The poverty and destitute state of Christ 
and his disciples. He - had not where to lay his head ; 
and he had no secular means of supporting, much less 
of enriching, his disciples. 3. In the manner of his 
trial — he was arraigned and condemned as a felon, as one 
that strove to destroy the public peace and tranquillity, by 
exciting the common people to insurrection and rebellion. 
4. In the manner of his death — he was crucified as the 
vilest and most criminal slave ; and as if his guilt were 
evident to all, had not one to plead for him ; and as a 
sanction to the judgment of his enemies, his own disci- 
ples abandoned him, as if convinced of his guilt, or 
ashamed any longer to confess so traduced a master. But 
the resurrection of Christ dissipated all doubts concern- 
ing these points ; and the out-pouring of the Holy Ghost 
on the souls of believers, filling them with light, and 
power, and love, was the demonstration that all was of 
God, and that they had not credited a foolish history, or 
a cunningly devised fable. 

But this subject may and should be taken up on a 
more extensive ground. As it regards Paul, all is right 
and clear ; we see that he had no cause to be ashamed 
of the gospel of Christ. He had all the consolations of 
which he speaks, he was an inspired apostle, and always 
full of the Holy Ghost and power. But the circum- 
stances of Christians in these latter days are in several 
respects different from those of the apostle ; and in re- 
ference to these the subject should be examined. On 
general grounds, what is it of which a man has cause to 
be ashamed ? Answer, — 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 145 

(1) Anything that is unwise or injudicious in its plan. 

(2) Absurd or extravagant in its execution or pro- 

(3) Inefficient or destructive in its issue or end. 

(4) Anything that is false in its principle, or calculated 
to make men believe a lie. 

This may be applied, Firstly, To all works of intellect. 
Secondly, To all works of civil polity. Thirdly, to all 
religious institutions. 

With but few exceptions, the whole herd of novelists 
may be included under the first. (1) Their plans are 
sickly abortions of paralysed intellect. (2) The execu- 
tion is fantastic and preposterous. And (3) Their issue 
is dangerous, often destructive, and generally ruinous. 
Several instances might be produced, and they might 
almost be taken up at random. Writers of this class, 

"Snivelling and drivelling nonsense without end," 

have corrupted the youth and depraved the manners, not 
only of this, but of almost all the countries of Europe. 
They are the begetters of vain imaginations, of extrava- 
gant projects, and of calamitous issues. Of them, their 
country may well be ashamed ; and they themselves blush 
at their own works, and the disastrous effects produced 
by them in society. 

There are, however, some honourable exceptions. 
There are a few writers of this class, whose sole aim was 
to correct the vicious manners of the age, give a proper 
bias to the understanding, - and a healthy direction to 
the feelings of the heart, and who, because it was popu- 
lar, chose the form of a novel to convey their salutary 
instructions to the public. At the head of these, for 
pious and benevolent feeling, stands Henry Brook ; for 
good intention and indefatigable ponderous labour, Samuel 
Richardson ; and for correct conception, masterly deline- 

146 st. patjl's glorying : 

ation, judicious colouring, and majestic execution, "Walter 
Scott. The first leads you directly to God, the Fountain 
of light, life, perfection, and goodness. The second con- 
ducts you through many indirect roads and fairy by-paths, 
to virtue and propriety of conduct in the various rela- 
tions of life. And the latter professes to carry you 
through nature and facts to the sources whence history 
should originate ; and raises up, not only the recollections 
of past events, but labours to place you, by inimitable 
description, in the midst of generations that have long 
since ceased to exist, whom in your presence he causes 
to transact all the avocations of their respective situa- 
tions in life, and to exhibit all the peculiarities of the 
manners and customs of their times, with the whole train 
of thinking and feeling which gave them birth. What 
a pity that his after-discovery of himself has shown the 
public that instead of history we have had fiction ; in- 
stead of truth we have had the thing that is not; and 
that there is scarcely a genuine character or a tissue of 
facts in the whole of these elegant works ! We have 
sowed much and reaped little ; we have been lulled into 
a pleasant sleep by the enchanter's wand ; himself has 
awoke us ; and lo ! the baseless fabric of the vision is 
dissolved, and not a wreck is left behind ! The author 
alone of the splendid illusion could detect its unrealities, 
and dissolve the fabric. We are glad, however, that we 
are at last undeceived ; for a falsehood, even gracefully 
told, is not the less dangerous ; for evil communications 
will, in all cases, not fail to corrupt good manners. 

Such writers as these shall have, from posterity at least, 
their just meed of praise ; and of the general tenor of their 
works their authors need never be ashamed. 

Secondly. But this may be applied also to many works 
of civil polity among ancient and modern nations, both 
barbarous, and what are called refined. In many cases 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 147 

how foolish the plan, how barbarous the execution of 
laws sufficiently ill-conceived, how partial the adminis- 
tration of justice, and how oppressive to all but the 
framers and higher ranks, the general operation of those 
institutions which should be the barriers against wrong, 
the protectors and comforters of the humble mechanic, 
and the laborious cultivator of the soil ! See the op- 
pressed state of the subjects of the Sublime Porte ; and 
the degradation of the peasantry of the Autocrat of all 
the Russias ! And how little better circumstanced are 
the inhabitants of Spain and Italy ; and how capable of 
improvement is the condition of the people under the 
Bourbons of France ! Of most of these nations may it 
not be said, " They have statutes that are not good, and 
judgments by which they cannot live." I say nothing of 
sanguinary laws and brutal punishments, of which, where- 
soever found, the framers may be ashamed, and in which 
the people cannot glory. 

Thirdly But this applies still more forcibly to all 
human codes of religion, from the oral laws of the Jews 
down to the deistical and demi-atheistical systems of the 
present day. All, all have been conceived in folly or the 
lust of power — are carried -on by puerile, ridiculous, and 
extravagant rites and ceremonies, and are daily issuing 
in perplexity and disappointment. 

1. This is the nature, tendency, and operation of the 
spurious and generally contemptible Mishna of the Jews, 
with their Talmuds and Gemara, works that never yet 
made one man wise unto salvation, nor saved one sinner 
from his sins. 

2. And also of the Mosliman religion, built on the 
jargon of the Koran — a system of conceits and solemn 
fooleries; a stagnant lake of asphaltic water, which 
would have long since been irrecoverably putrid, had not 
the deadly mass been preserved from total corruption by 

148 st. patjl's glorying; 

some portions of living water stolen from Siloah's brook 
that flows from the oracle of God. 

The like may be said of all the other systems of religion 
that have been invented by man. By none of them has 
the human heart ever been mended, the soul sanctified, 
or the conduct, brought up to a pure standard of moral 
rectitude. Pure morality has been produced in no nation 
of the world where the revelation of God has not pre- 
vailed. What we find of good under any other system 
of religion consists more in the absence of certain evils, 
which are restrained by penal laws, than in the presence 
of good produced by holy principles. 

Let us now examine the gospel of Christ, and see 
whether from its plan, its operation, and the effects pro- 
duced by it, any of its professors have cause to be ashamed 
of their faith. 

(1) Its plan. — It professes to come from God, the 
Fountain of wisdom, truth, holiness, and goodness ; and 
if this be its origin, it must be wise, true, holy, and bene- 
ficent ; and all its operations vindicate its claim to a 
heavenly origin. It is every way suited to the fallen, 
miserable state of man. It shows — makes a fuller dis- 
covery of the divine nature, than was ever made before, 
of its holiness, justice, truth, and goodness. It also gives 
a more correct view of man — of his nature, the soul and 
its immortality, the end of his being and the way of 
happiness. The resurrection of the human body, and 
the state of future rewards and punishments, are asserted, 
proved, and illustrated by it. Its promises and precepts 
are full of wisdom, reasonableness, and encouragement. 
It is adapted to every want, meets every wish, and satis- 
fies every desire of the human soul. 

Let us examine this more particularly. 

That man is a fallen, sinful being, cannot be denied ; 
that he has that carnal mind which is enmity against 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17« 149 

God, requires no proof. He is despicable and mean, yet 
proud and arrogant. He is sinful and wicked, yet pre- 
sumptive of merit, and expectant of endless felicity. His 
moral weakness is such that he cannot resist sin ; and 
yet he acts and boasts as if he had all power, and could 
bruise down Satan under his own feet. In a word, he is 
ignorant and proud, sinful and wicked, an enemy to him- 
self, an enemy to his species, and an enemy to God. The 
gospel provides a remedy for all these evils. 1. It was 
a maxim amongst ancient philosophers and physicians, 
contraria contrarw curantur, " contraries are cured by 
their contraries." Hence, to abase, confound, and destroy 
the pride of man, Jesus, who was in the form of God, 
made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the 
form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man ; 
he humbled himself (yet farther), and became obedient 
unto death, even the death of the cross, Phil. ii. 6 — 8, And 
this humiliation of Jesus Christ is wondrously calculated 
to confound the pride and vain-glory of man ; and this 
emptying of himself has been the means of purchasing 
that grace which bends and breaks the heart, gives true 
repentance, and prepares the soul for the mercy that 

2. In like manner, his love is opposed to our enmity • 
and by it, our hatred to God and goodness is overcome. 
Love counteracts the whole carnal mind, draws out the 
heart in affectionate attachment to God, and is the in- 
centive to all obedience, as being the fulfilling of the law. 
Such a person is not obliged to derive the principle of 
his obedience from anything outward ; the moral law is 
before his eyes ; but the love of God, shed abroad in 
his heart, is the principle by which he obeys it. He per- 
forms nothing merely as a duty, he has the law of God 
written in his heart, and this ever disposes him to do 
what is right in the sight of his Judge. If it were not 

150 ST. PAULS glorying; 

even infallibly true, that a life of sin must terminate in 
endless misery, yet he would abhor the way of the wicked. 
He has tried the path of disobedience, and found it the 
road to ruin ; he now knows the way of righteousness, 
and finds it the path of peace and happiness. Satan, 
the enslaver of the world, he found to be a hard task- 
master, during the long period in whi'h he laboured 
under chains, in the house of his bondage. God, the 
Saviour of the world, he finds to be a beneficent Father, 
and his service perfect freedom. He delights in obedi- 
ence ; it is the element in which his soul lives, prospers, 
and is happy. 

3. The grace afforded by the gospel plan of salvation, 
destroys also the enmity that subsists between man and 
his fellows. As God is loving to every man, and hates 
nothing that he has made, so all those who are made 
partakers of the divine nature love man for his sake, 
and by the influence of that same love, which a merciful 
God bears even to the froward and the wicked. Strifes, 
quarrels, and contentions, wars and fightings, with all 
systems of licensed or unlicensed aggression, slaughter, 
rapine, and wrong, would cease in the world were the 
Spirit of the gospel to be even generally received. Com- 
motions in civil society would be as rare as comets in 
the solar system (as they could only exist among those 
who would not have God to rule over them), and like 
those rare visitants, pass through that kingdom of heaven 
which Christ had established upon earth, without dis- 
turbing that general order and harmony which are essen- 
tial to his government among men. And were this 
gospel to be universally received (and why should it not?) 
all human enmities would be abolished for ever. 

This is not theory. "We know what would be the 
case in the mass, from what we see among individuals. 
In every case where a sinner is converted to God, he is 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 151 

filled with that wisdom from above, which is pure, peace- 

and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 
Under such influence, men bear each others' burdens, 
cease from all strife and envying, are courteous, pitiful, 
and kind. They have in them the mind that was in 
Christ, and they walk as he walked. Behold then the 
wisdom of the gospel plan ! It does not act by laying 
on restraints, but by eradicating evils ; it not only takes 
away those evil dispositions which lead to the works of 
the devil and the flesh, but it infuses those principles 
which lead to peace, purity, and happiness. 

(2) And as it is wise in its plan, so it is benign in its 
operation ; its doctrine drops as the rain, its speech dis- 
tils as the dew, as small rain upon the tender herb, and 
as showers upon the grass (Deut. xxxii. 2). The Spirit 
of God shines into the heart to convince it of sin, right- 
eousness, and judgment ; in order that it may feel the 
need it has of redemption ; that same Spirit takes of the 
things that are Christ's, and shows them unto it; the 
sinner then sees the boundless love of God that has pro- 
vided such a sacrifice for sin. He is astonished at the 
divine goodness. When he sees what has been done for 
him he hates his former life, and loathes himself, repent- 
ing as in sackcloth and ashes. He is commanded to 
believe on him who died for his offences, and rose again 
for his justification. He lays hold on the hope set before 
him ; he believes in the availableness of the wondrous 
atonement, and " gives up every plea beside, ' I am con- 
demned, but Christ has died.' " The spirit of adoption 
is then given to him, by which, with a thorough convic- 
tion of his own sonship, he is enabled to cry, Abba, 
Father ! He is now justified freely through the re- 
demption that is in Jesus ; and is filled with all peace, 

VOL. I. H 

152 st. Paul's glorying; 

love, and joy, in believing ; and abounds in hope through 
the power of the Holy Ghost. Nothing can be more 
gentle, nothing more persuasive, nothing more effectual 
than the operation of this grace upon his heart and 
mind. Whatever part the great and mighty wind, the 
earthquake, and the fire might have had in his convic- 
tion, it was the still small voice (1 Kings xix. 11, &c.) 
that announced the presence of that most merciful God 
and Fatner who is now come to put away his sins, and 
receive him among his children. And now, being re- 
ceived into the heavenly family, he continues to believe 
— love — and obey. And as his faith worketh by love, 
he runs the race that is set before him with alacrity, 
cheerfulness, and delight. As he finds the service of 
God to be a reasonable service, so he performs it, not 
with constraint, but willingly ; doing the will of God 
from his heart ; rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having no 
confidence in the flesh. 

(3) As the plan was wise, and the operation benign, so 
the issue is glorious. The genuine Christian is holy — 
and happy, because holy ; he not only lives an innocent 
life, but he lives a useful life — he labours for the welfare 
of society, and the peace of God keeps and rules his 
heart. He lives to grow wiser and better, and he misses 
not his aim. In affliction he is patient and submissive ; 
in adversity his confidence in God is unshaken ; in death 
he has no fears, because Christ dwells in his heart by 
faith ; he overcomes his last enemy, and finally triumphs, 
Satan himself being beat down under his feet; and, 
having overcome, he sits down with Christ on his 
throne, as he, having overcome, is sat down with the 
Father upon the Father's throne. Thus then, his sal- 
vation on earth issues in an eternal weight of glory. 
Hence, therefore, it is demonstrated, that no believer 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 153 

need be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, as it is wise 
in its plan, benign in its operation, and glorious in 
its END. 

And (4) It need scarcely be added, that it is true in 
its principles, and has been the means of diffusing truth 
wherever it has been proclaimed ; ascertaining the nature 
and worth of natural and spiritual things ; correcting all 
errors in judgment, and viciousness in practice ; causing 
men to know the only true God, and " Jesus Christ 
whom he has sent, whom to know is life eternal." It 
opens the science of salvation by manifesting him, " who 
is the way, the truth, and the life ; and thus fulfilling 
the purposes of God, — the intentions of nature, — and 
the counsels of reason, in reference to the present and 
eternal state of men. 

All these things are included in the reason which the 
apostle assigns for his not being ashamed of the gospel 
of Christ : " Because," says he, " it is the power of God 
unto salvation, to every one that believeth." 

III. That the gospel brings salvation to men has 
already been ascertained, and the manner in which the 
operation is carried on, has also been pointed out ; but 
the especial agency by which the work i's begun, carried 
on, and completed, has been mentioned only in a general 
way. The apostle terms it the porter of God, Swa/ue tov 
Qtov, a phrase which ordinarily signifies such a power 
as God exerts when he inverts or suspends the operations 
of nature, to produce effects which in the ordinary course 
of things could not take place. Such, indeed, is the sal- 
vation of the soul ; so deep is the stain, so radicated the 
habits of sinning, so strong the propensity to do what is 
evil, that nothing less than the power by which the 
soul was created, can conquer these habits, eradicate 
these vices, and cause such a leopard to change his spots, 
and such an Ethiop his hue. The whole change which 

h 2 


the soul undergoes in its conversion, is the effect of a 
divine energy within. This the Gospel promises, when 
it promises to send forth the Holy Spirit. This mighty 
Spirit is given to enlighten, convince, strengthen, quicken, 
and save ; and the change that is effected in the sinner's 
soul, in his habits, and in his life, is such as no natural 
cause can produce ; such as no art of man can effect ; 
and such as no religious institutions, connected with the 
most serious and pointed moral, advices, can ever bring 
about. It is wholly God's work; and he performs it 
neither by might nor power, but by his own Spirit. 

Several systems of religion have some good ordinances 
and moral precepts — they speak against sin, and recom- 
mend a moral life ; but under them not one sinner is 
converted. And why ? Because they minister not the 
power of God. Nor does even the strong and forcible 
preaching of the divine precepts of Christianity itself 
produce this. Where Jesus is not preached as the power 
of God, as well as the wisdom of God, no sinner is con- 
verted from the error of his life. The profligate continues 
his course ; drunkards, swearers, liars, sabbath-breakers, 
the unjust, the unclean, and the unholy, continue under 
the influence and power of sin, though they may frequent 
the ministry of those who, not knowing the work of God 
upon their own hearts, think God works not at all ; a*nd 
endeavour to produce the wonderful change which the 
gospel requires, and the state of the soul demands, by 
moral suasion, and the administration of the divine ordi- 
nances ! Vain labour ! without this power of God, no 
good can be effected. Jesus, as putting away sin by the 
sacrifice of himself, and as sending forth the enlightening 
and powerful influence of the Holy Ghost, must be 
clearly, faithfully, and incessantly preached. Where this 
is done, sinners will be converted unto God, and believers 
built up on their most holy faith. This was the gospel 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 155 

which St. Paul preached, because he knew it to be the 
" power of God to salvation." He had felt it to be such ; 
and he witnessed it as the only means of saving either a 
lost world, or a lost soul. 

Now, as all men had sinned, and Jesus Christ tasted 
death for every man, so the Gospel salvation is offered 
indiscriminately to all. And as nothing can produce 
this salvation but the power of God, so no one can merit 
it ; none can purchase it by works of righteousness which 
he has done or can do ; and therefore, it is a gratuitous 
offer made to mankind, and actually conferred on them 
that believe — on them who credit the record that, God has 
given of his Son, and receive Jesus Christ crucified as a 
sufficient sacrifice and oblation for their sins. Hence 
the apostle states, that " the Gospel is the power of God 
to salvation unto every one that believes." 

IV. And lest that most sinful selfishness, which causes 
multitudes to restrain the grace and goodness of God to 
themselves, and imagine that all the rest of mankind 
were passed by, and that the God who hateth nothing 
that he has made, but is loving to every man, had made 
no provision for them who did not worship in their way, 
or receive their creed, should prevail in any mind, the 
apostle adds, " To the Jew first, and also to the Greek." 
That is, by the most obvious construction, from the well 
known application of those terms, " to the whole human 
race ;' for, at that time, under the denomination of Jews 
and Gentiles, was the whole human race included. To 
the Jew, the first offer of salvation by Christ was to be 
made, and the next to the Gentile world. All that did 
not harden their hearts against God's fear, nor reject the 
counsel of God against themselves, were made partakers 
of this grace, and became the " elect of God, holy and 
beloved." Those who resisted the Holy Ghost were 

156 ST. PAULS glorying; 

blinded and cast off; but none was rejected till he had 
rejected the Lord who bought him. 

And that this gospel salvation was intended both for 
Jews and Gentiles, the apostle argues thus : " For therein 
is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith ;" 
i. e., God's method of saving sinners by Christ Jesus 
(as the phrase righteousness of God is often used in this 
epistle; among others, see chap. iii. 20 — 26), is fully 
manifested in the gospel, is revealed from faith to faith. 
1st, It is shown to be by faith, and not by the works of 
the law; for Abraham, the father and founder of the 
Jewish people, was justified by faith, before even the 
law was given ; and from believing, in reference to the 
spiritual object held forth in the various ordinances of 
the law, and now revealed under the gospel, he and all 
his believing descendants have been justified; have re- 
ceived the pardon of sin, and become the children of 
God by faith in Christ Jesus. 2ndly, Thus the faith of 
the Old Covenant led on to the faith of the New Cove- 
nant, which shows that salvation has been by faith from 
the call of Abraham to the present time. And from the 
beginning, all that were just or righteous in the earth 
became such by faith ; and by this principle alone they 
were enabled to persevere, as it is written, adds the 
apostle, " The just shall live by faith." 3dly, And 
because the gospel of Christ provides a way of salvation 
at once so honourable to God, so illustrative of his justice 
and mercy, and so suitable to the state and condition of 
a fallen, ruined world, therefore the apostle could say, 
and every man who has duly studied and felt the subject 
can also say, " I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ; 
for it is the power of God unto salvation, to every one 
that believeth." 

V. How are these benefits to be ultimately secured ? 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 157 

The apostle answers, " The just shall live by faith." 
The man that is justified by faith must live by faith. The 
way to obtain salvation, and the way to retain it, are the 
same. The penitent sinner receives by faith the mercy 
of God in Christ Jesus, for the remission of his sins. 
The believer receives grace by faith through Christ Jesus, 
to give him stability in the grace he has received. We 
may note here three things. 1. The character of the 
person — the just. 2. How he maintains that character 
— he lives. 3. What are the means by which this life 
is continued ? Faith. The just — shall live — by faith. 

1. The just here, is the same as the justified person — 
he who has sought and found redemption in Christ 
Jesus ; and he is called just, not because he has been 
acquitted, that is impossible, because he was found guilty 
— but because he has been absolved from the punish- 
ment due to his sins, by receiving a pardon ; and a pardon 
sets the culprit on the same footing, in reference to the 
law, as the just or righteous man himself. Where the 
sovereign exerts his royal prerogative, in the way of 
pardon, whatever the law might have previously exacted, 
it ceases now to have any demands in reference to the 
past ; and the righteous and the pardoned occupy the 
same ground as to civil rights, privileges, &c. Where 
the king issues his pardon, the law ceases to condemn. 

2. The just or justified person maintains this character 
— by living ; i.e., living to God's glory. 1. He must, 
have all his actions regulated by the Word and Spirit of 
Christ. In the Word he sees how he should act so as 
to please God. By the indwelling Spirit, he feels a 
power to act in this way. That shows him his duty ; 
this enables him to fulfil it. 2. Before his justification 
he lived to no useful purpose — though he existed, yet 
he was considered dead; dead in trespasses in sins — 
dead in law ; because his life was forfeited by transgres- 


sion. His soul was dead to all religious affections, feel- 
ings, and desires; but now he lives, yet not lie, but 
Christ liveth in him ; and when Christ, who is his life 
shall appear, then shall he also appear with him in glory. 
Christ is, in the believing soul, a well springing up to 
life eternal. While the streams of this life arise in him, 
he lives — 'lives to God's glory, and his Redeemer's praise ; 
for he shows forth the virtues of him who has called 
him from darkness into his marvellous light. He lives 
also for the benefit of man ; his light so shines, that 
others, seeing his good works, may glorify his Father 
which is in heaven. 

3. The means by which this life is maintained is 
Faith. He continues in the conscientious belief of 
every article of the Christian faith ; he believes in refer- 
ence to practice. He setirches the Scripture, as well to 
know his duty, as to find out his privileges; he seeks 
out God's commandments till he finds none. What he 
reads, he credits ; and what he credits, he applies to the 
use for which it was given. But he has faith in Christ 
• — he still views him as his sacrificial offering — as having 
purchased all the blessings he needs, — and faith is the 
hand which is ever stretched out to receive of his ful- 
ness. His prayers for support — for victory over tempta- 
tion — for power to take up and bear his cross — and for 
grace to do and suffer the whole will of God, are all 
offered up through faith in Christ ; and for Christ's sake 
alone are they answered. Christ, dwells in his heart by 
faith ; and the life that he lives in the flesh he lives by 
faith in the Son of God. Thus Christ lives in him, and 
he lives by and to him. He is maintained in his justified 
state, goes on to perfection, and at last enters into the 
paradise of God by faith in Christ Jesus. In vain does 
any one dream about final perseverence, who does not 
thus walk by faith, and live to the glory of God. 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 159 

VI. And now, reader, what dost thou say? Dost 
thou understand the Gospel ? Is it the power of God 
to thy salvation ? Art thou saved ? Is the power of 
thy sin broken ? The guilt of it removed from thy con- 
science ? The pollution of it washed away from thy 
heart ? Hast thou felt that mighty power which roots 
up all the seeds of sin ? Art thou then ashamed of this 
Gospel ? — ashamed to speak of it ? — ashamed to acknow- 
ledge it ? — ashamed to patronize it ? — ashamed to own 
or associate with true believers in it, because they are 
poor or persecuted ? Art thou ashamed to own it among 
the ungodly ? Canst thou hear pure and undented re- 
ligion spoken against, and its followers reviled by the 
formalist and the profane, and yet hold thy peace, lest 
thou shouldst come in for a share of the reproach ( In 
a word, art thou ashamed of Christ crucified? Of Cod 
manifested in the flesh ? Of the Maker, preserver, and 
friend of mankind? Of Him who will shortly be thy 
Judge ? Then, hear what the Lord God speaketh unto 
thee : " Whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my 
words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him 
also shall the Son of man be ashamed when he cometh 
in the glory of his Father with the holy angels ;" Mark 
viii. 38. " Whosoever shall confess me before men, him 
will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven ; 
but whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I alto 
deny before my Father which is in heaven /' Matt. x. 
32, 33. These are words of terror to the half-hearted 
Christian — to all that wish to walk in the sunshine of 
public prosperity, — to those who love that religion which 
the world approves,— for that religion was never yet of 
God. It is justly said, that " as the laws of Christ give 
no quarter to vice, so vicious men will give no quarter 
to religion." On what principle has the Christian church 
been honoured with martyrs? On that laid down by 

h 3 

160 st. Paul's glorying ; 

the apostle : they were not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ ; 
" they counted not their lives dear to them ; hut over- 
came through the blood of the Lamb, and their testi- 
mony. Therefore are they before the throne." On the 
same principle, "Moses refused the honour of being 
constituted the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing 
rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to 
enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the 
reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of 
Egypt ;" Heb. xi. 24 — 26. But who is of his mind ? 
Who is it that is not continually bartering Christ, and 
the soul's best interests, for the riches, honours, and 
pleasures of the world ? But are there not many thou- 
sands that have not bowed their knees to these Baals ? 
who love Christ, — his Gospel, — his messengers, — his 
people, — and even his Cross ? There are. And why is 
this ? Because they know his Gospel to be the power 
of God unto their salvation. To such, therefore, I would 
say, " Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has 
made you free." Run the race that is set before you, 
looking unto Jesus ? Remember that " the just shall live 
by faith." You obey no longer than you love ; you love no 
longer than you believe ; you believe no longer than you 
are looking unto Jesus. Look at him in his sacrificial 
character, discerning the end for which he was offered up. 
Look at him in his mediatorial office, and consider the pre- 
valence of his intercession. Look at him in the meekness 
and gentleness of his carriage, and endeavour to imitate 
him. Look at him in his benevolence, charity, and 
mercy, and strive to bear his likeness. Look at him in 
the universal excellence of his conduct, and follow him. 
Look at him as the fountain of your life and the source 
of all your blessings, and continue to derive fresh supplies 
from his fulness ; for without him you can do nothing. 
Thus shall you live by faith ; be preserved in his salva- 

A DISCOURSE ON ROM. I. 16, 17- 161 

tion ; be able " to bear all things — believe all things — 
hope all things— endure all things ;" for you shall have 
the charity that never faileth. And, when he doth ap- 
pear, you shall be like him, for you shall see him as he 
is, and have an abundant entrance into the holiest by the 
blood of Jesus ! Then shall he confess you before his 
Father and the holy angels, and you shall have an eternal 
triumph, because you have known and acknowledged 
him before men, and have not been ashamed of the Gospel 
of Christ. 



2 Kings V. 12. 

" Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than 
all the waters of Israel 1 may I not wash in them, and be clean V 

I do not recollect a more remarkable chapter in the 
historical books of the Bible than this out of which I 
have taken the text. The facts mentioned here occur 
nowhere else in the sacred writings, nor are they referred 
to by the ancient, Jewish historians. The history of 
Naaman, as here related, is not even mentioned by Jo- 
sephus, though it most certainly must have been in the 
Hebrew text in his time, from which it has never been 
absent : and besides, has always been extant in the 
Chaldee, Syriac, and Septuagint, all of which must have 
been known to him. The history, therefore, is very 
singular ; and the two main facts in it — the leprosy of 
Naaman, and its miraculous cure by Elisha, and the 
transfer of that leprosy to Gehazi, the servant of the 
prophet — are both as instructive as they are extraordi- 
nary, and teach us lessons of sovereign importance. 
There are some difficulties (not contradictions nor im- 
probabilities) in both accounts, which require study and 
investigation ; but these difficulties belong to some cir- 
cumstances in the accounts, and not to the facts them 


selves ; they are of minor importance, and need not at 
present come into consideration. I propose, therefore, 

First — To take a general view of the history, para- 
phrasing its most impressive parts. 

Second ly — To consider the nature of leprosy in gene- 
ral, as a disease, and as an emblematical representation 
of sin ; and what is to be done to effect its cure. 

Thirdly— To make some remarks on the simplicity 
of the means which God has prescribed for the cure of 
sin, or f-alvation of men ; and how these means have been 
treated in different ages of the world. 

First, I shall take a general view of this history, by 
paraphrasing its most impressive parts. 

1. Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of 
Syria., &c, ver. 1. Of this eminent Syrian we know 
nothing more than what is related here, as his name is 
nowhere mentioned in the sacred writings but in this 
place, and by our Lord in Luke iv. 27 ; who, in his dis- 
course to the people of Nazareth, mentioning the case 
of Naaman, evidently refers to this place : " Many lepers 
were in Israel, in the time of Elisha the prophet, and 
none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian." 
Some of the rabbins say that he is the person men- 
tioned in 1 Kings xxii. 34, who drew his bow at a ven- 
ture (ion 1 ? letummo), more properly, with true aim and all 
his strength, and smote Ahab, king of Israel, so that he 
died • by which circumstance the Israelites were dis- 
comfited, and the victory, including in it a great deliver- 
ance came to Syria. But this tradition is too uncertain 
to be entitled to much consideration. 

2. Though we cannot cast much light on the person 
of Naaman, yet his character and high offices in the 
Syrian court are particularly mentioned. 


1. He was captain of the host of the king of Syria 
{xyt "W sar tseba), prince or chief of the army. This 
most probably means generalissimo, or commander-in- 
chief of all the Syrian forces ; the different chiefs, as 
well as the forces under them, being all under his au- 
thority and direction; an office of the highest import- 
ance, consequence, and responsibility. 

2. He was a great man (^to u»n ish gadol), worthy of 
the trust and confidence reposed in him ; had extensive 
connexions and great influence, especially with the king 
his master, who had trusted the weal of the empire en- 
tirely to his management. 

3. And he was honourable (o^s nbo nesua panim), 
highly respectable. He was elevated on account of his 
merit, and he showed his face with honour in all places 
and in all offices, and behaved himself so well as to have 
the suffrages and good opinion of the kingdom, as well 
as of the prince. 

4. He was also a mighty man in valour (Vn -nm gib- 
bor chayiT), words which seem at once to express the 
size and strength of his body, and the bold, intrepid, and 
inflexible energy of his mind. Few, probably, could 
compare with him in bodily strength, and he had the 
genuine spirit of a hero — an enemy never saw his back ; 
and his military career was never tarnished by ferocious 
cruelty or barbarous plunder, farther than the allowed 
usages of war authorized him to act. In reference to 
such a character, in such circumstances, this seems to 
be the unforced meaning of the four characteristics men- 
tioned above. Humanly speaking, what could such a 
man have or desire more ! He was possessed of the 
three great excellencies which are the objects of pursuit 
to all the ambitious of the earth — honour, power, and 
profit. The friendship of the prince, the confidence of 
the country, and the high emoluments of office ; to 


which may be added, success in his military engage- 
ments, and the honour of having sated his country when 
in imminent danger from a powerful rival state ; for by 
him had Jehovah given deliverance unto Syria. Yet in 
none, nor in all of these things, could he be happy ; for 
it is added — 

5. He was a leper. This is brought in with a strange 
abruptness, and in a single word in the original — msro 
metsord, leprous. Alas ! just about to step on the last 
round of the climax of happiness, the cup of blessing at 
his lips, and he about to drink of the fountain of life, 
when the cup was dashed from his mouth ! A leper ! 
What a heavy tax upon his grandeur ; for he was afflicted 
with a disorder the most loathsome and the most humi- 
liating that could possibly disgrace and afflict a human 
being ! 

The wise and just God often, in the course of his pro- 
vidence, permits great defects to be associated with great 
eminence, that he may hide pride from man, and cause 
him to think soberly of himself and of his acquirements. 
Let him that most assuredly standeth take heed lest he 
fall ! and let him who is in honour bear himself meekly, 
lest God defile his horn in the dust ; for God grants his 
gifts, not that the creature, but that himself may be 

Evils are sent sometimes in the way of judgment, be- 
cause the man has abused his blessings ; at other times 
he sends or permits them to come, either to prevent dis- 
grace, or for the farther manifestation of his own power 
and goodness. This latter was the case in the instance 
before us ; and by what a surprising chain of providences 
was this brought about! Let us attend to them, and 
consider them in detail : — 

1. "The Syrians had gone out by companies, and had 
brought away captive a little maid ; and she waited on 


Naaman's wife," ver. 2. There had been war between 
Israel and Syria in the days of Ahab, king of the former, 
and Ben-hadad, king of the latter ; and as their territo- 
ries were contiguous to each other, a predatory war ap- 
pears to have been carried on upon the borders ; and in 
making inroads, when successful, goods, cattle, and per- 
sons were carried off as lawful prey. To divide and 
distract the counsels and energies of the invaded, the 
marauding foe divided himself into companies, and, at 
the same time, entered the borders in different places. 
The irruption was sudden ; the panic occasioned by it 
great ; and before they could put themselves in a posture 
of defence, the enemy had laden himself with booty, and 
departed with the same celerity with which he had made 
his aggression. 

This is the very mode in which this sort of warfare is 
carried on in various parts of the East to the present 
day. The term companies, D>ira gedudim, is, I believe, 
correctly explained by Rab. Sal. Jarchi : — " When," says 
he, " one or two hundred men go out by themselves, to 
make prey of whatever they can get, that is called -rni 
gedud, a troop." It was in such marauding companies 
that the Syrians had invaded the Israelitish borders when 
the little maid in question was taken, and afterwards 
probably sold for a slave. 

2. On the case of this little maid, we may remark, 1 . 
That she had been piously brought up ; she had known 
the God of Israel. 2. She acknowledged and respected 
his prophet. 3. She had a thorough belief in God's 
omnipotence. 4. She knew the intercourse and power 
that his prophet had with him. 5. Her pious education 
was not in vain, for she carried her fear of God into the 
land of her captivity ; and, 6. She acknowledged the 
only true God in an idolatrous house, and in a nation of 


3. But how mysterious was that Providence that per- 
mitted the parents to be deprived of their child ; and of 
such a child ! the child of their prayers and their hopes; 
hut now, the child of their tears, anxieties, and hopeless 
sorrows ! The loss of any child, even the most worth 
less, in such circumstances, must distress beyond descrip- 
tion, even the most unfeeling of parents : torn from their 
bosoms by the ruthless hands of unprincipled barbarian 
soldiers, and carried into exile, to slavery, to slaughter, 
or even to a worse fate ; for idolatry and prostitution are 
even worse than any of the preceding. Behold the good- 
ness and severity of Divine Providence : affectionate 
parents are deprived of their promising daughter by a set 
of lawless freebooters, without the smallest prospect, that, 
if spared alive, she could have any lot in life but that of 
misery, infamy, and woe ! 

4. But the mystery of the Divine Providence begins to 
be cleared up ; for it is added, She waited on Naaman's 
wife. The words are emphatic, join rrc-N "ith vini va-tehi 
Ivpney esheth Nadman, " and she was in the presence 
(before the face, or under the eye) of the wife of Naaman- 
She was what we could call lady's maid, or companion, 
to the wife of this general. Her decent orderly be- 
haviour, the consequence of her sober, pious education, 
entitled her to this place of distinction, in which her ser- 
vitude was at least easy, and her person safe. If God 
permitted the parents to be deprived of their child by the 
hands of ruffians, he did not permit her to be without a 
guardian ! If even the father and the mother had for- 
saken her, or she had been reft from them, the Lord had 
taken her up ; nor could she have had a more efficient 
protector than the Syrian general, nor have been in safer 
circumstances than under the eye of his wife. ' 

5. The conduct of this little Israelitish maid, as far as 
it concerns the history before us, is next to be considered. 


" She said to her mistress, Would God, my lord were 
with the prophet that is in Samaria ! for he would re- 
cover him of his leprosy," ver. 3. Here we may first 
admire the kindness of God, who sent a prophet to such 
an idolatrous city as Samaria, and among a people who 
had apostatized in the main, from the true faith : for 
although they, in a certain way, feared Jehovah, yet they 
served other gods, — had neither a true temple, a true ser- 
vice, nor a true sacrifice. Well, they stood the more in 
need of a divine teacher ; and, hecause their blindness 
was great and their case deplorable, God sent them one 
of the most eminent of his prophets, who fearlessly pro- 
claimed the counsel of the Most High, and was endowed 
with such extraordinary powers as to be able to accredit 
and confirm his teaching by the most striking miracles. 

This little maid seems to have been well acquainted 
with the character and ministry of the prophet; and 
knowing the divine power with which God hath clothed 
him, she was satisfied that he both could and would cure 
her master, were he to present himself before him. 

" Would God that my master" — »Vn« achali, I wish ; 
or, as the Chaldee, Syriac, and Arabic have it, Happy 
mould it be for my master, if he were with the prophet, 
&c. Here the mystery of the Divine Providence be- 
comes farther developed : — 

" And one went in and told his lord — Thus and thus 
said the maid that is of the land of Israel," ver. 4. Bj' 
the captivity of this little maid, one Syrian family at 
least, and that one of the most considerable in the Syrian 
empire, is brought to the knowledge of the true God ; 
and most probably the king and his court were led, in 
consequence, to acknowledge the supremacy of the God 
of Israel. So well had this pious child conducted her- 
self, that her sober words made a serious impression on 
them that heard them ; and so fully were they credited, 


that an embassy from the king of Syria to the king of 
Israel was founded upon them ! 

A religious profession, supported by a consistent walk, 
produces both reverence and respect, even in the wicked. 
And, even while they ridicule religion, they will put 
confidence in its professors, credit their works, and em- 
ploy their services in preference to all others. How for- 
cible are right words ! What a pity that all the professors 
of religion were not at all times faithful to their trust, 
and consistent in their conduct ! How soon would in- 
fidelity and vice lose their glorying, and the faith and 
hope of the gospel everywhere triumph ! But, alas ! how 
few are clear in this matter ! O God, mend both thy 
church and thy ministers ! 

6. This information had affected and interested Naa- 
man, and it appears he went and laid the whole before 
the king ; for a journey by his chief captain could not 
be undertaken to Samaria, without the king's license ; 
and as the two nations were not in a good understanding 
with each other, a negociation was necessary, in order 
that a journey of this kind might be taken with safety to 
the person of Naaman, and without suspicion or damage 
to the Israelitish king. 

It appears that the testimony of the little maid weighed 
equally with the king of Syria as with Naaman ; and as 
in all countries, where a form of religion is established 
and supported by the state, the clergy or priests are 
under the authority of the prince, the Syrian king thought 
that it was best to address the king of Israel on the sub- 
ject, and desire him to cure his servant of the leprosy. 
That the message might appear properly respectable, he 
sent a suitable letter; and Naaman took a present of 
considerable value for the prophet. This was an invaria- 
ble custom, for prophets and great men of all descriptions 
were approached with this ceremony; and the present 


was, in its value, always proportioned to the eminence of 
the person to whom the approach was made, and to the 
circumstances of the person claiming the interview. Naa- 
man took with him ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces 
of gold, and ten changes of raiment, ver. 5. These ten 
talents of silver, valued at £353 lis. lO^rf. per talent, 
amounted to the sum of £3,535 18s. 9d. The six thou- 
sand pieces of gold, if shekels be meant, as is most pro- 
bable, at £1 16s. 5d. the shekel, amount to £10,925, 
and the whole to £14,460 18s. 9d. sterling ; besides the 
value of the ten caftans or superb suits of clothing, which 
must have been very considerable. This was a princely 
present : but neither Naaman nor his royal master knew 
that healing was the gift of God, and that the gift of 
God could not be purchased by money. 

7- This embassy produced great agitation in ihe Israel- 
itish court, the reason of which will shortly be explained. 

When the king of Israel had read the letter, (which 
was as follows : " Now when this letter is come unto thee, 
behold, I have sent Naaman my servant unto thee, that 
thou mayest recover him of his leprosy,") he rent his 
clothes, and said, " Am I God, to kill and to make alive, 
that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his 
leprosy? — see how he seeketh a quarrel against me?" 
ver. 7- The king of Israel spoke thus, under the con- 
viction that God alone could cure the leprosy. This was 
a truth generally acknowledged by all ; and must have 
been acknowledged in Syria, as it was in both Egypt and 
Israel ; for this disease was equally prevalent in all those 
countries, and in all equally incurable. And it was this 
that led the king of Israel to infer that Ben-hadad sought 
a quarrel with him, in desiring him to do a work which 
God alone could do ; and when he should find that the 
work was not done, would declare war against him, be- 
cause he did not do it. He either did not know the 


power of the Lord's prophet, or he knew that he had too 
small an interest with the Supreme God to expect him 
to work, a miracle to save one who was a worshipper of 
the golden calves set up by Jeroboam, at Dan and Be- 
thel. Idolatry is not only contemptible in itself, but it 
renders its partizans ridiculous. In the time of distress, 
they dare not trust in their idols ; they are satisfied that 
they have no power ; for, who, under the influence of a 
reflecting mind, can put their trust in the stock of a tree? 
To expect supernatural help in a time of distress, a man 
must know that there is a God, and that he is the Re- 
warder of them that diligently seek him. He that will 
be saved, must pray ; and he that prays, must have faith 
in a God all-sufficient. 

Of the consternation at the Israelitish court, the Lord's 
prophet was soon informed ; God still cared for Israel, 
and there he had his watchman Elisha. He sent a mes- 
sage to the king sufficiently respectful, but unceremonious : 
" Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes ?" Why shouldst 
thou be in such circumstances as to be terrified at the 
message of the Syrian king ? Where is the Lord God 
of Elijah ? Hast thou totally forsaken him, and now 
darest not to trust him in the time of thy distress ? 
"■ Send Naaman to me, and he shall know that there is 
a prophet in Israel," ver. 8. Here is a cutting reproof; 
but in it there is consolation. I have been long in the 
land, — why hast thou not known me ? I have been a 
watchman to Israel, — why hast thou not acknowledged 
me ? If thou wilt not know me as the prophet of God, this 
heathen man, this worshipper of Rimmon, shall be led to 
acknowledge that I am such. " Let him come to me." 

8. On receiving this command, Naaman would natu- 
rally consider of himself how he was to proceed in 
the order of his journey ; for the little maid did not 
say, " Would God that my master were with the king 


of Israel, at Samaria; for he would recover him of 
his leprosy ! " It was the prophet she mentioned, not 
the king : but the king was solicited, that he might 
command the prophet; and now that he is sent by 
the king to the prophet, he would naturally consider 
that all was going on in its right course. He, therefore, 
hesitates not, but immediately sets off for the prophet's 
residence. " So Naaman came with his horses and with 
his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha," 
ver. 9. Though he assumed considerable state, yet pro- 
bably not more than belonged to his office and dignity : 
but, alas ! he was a leper. His whole body was covered 
with a most loathsome disease, unfit for human society, 
and in the last state, as to his body, of human wretched- 
ness : so the meanest unpolluted beggar was both higher 
and happier than he. How vain are earthly distinctions 
when God lays his hand upon our flesh ! Naaman was 
at the pinnacle of human grandeur, but he was a leper. 
Pride was not made for the sons of men ; in our pros- 
perity we should rejoice even before God with trembling. 
The exaltation of every state in life is counterbalanced 
by its depressions. Even Haman, the highest next to 
the king in the mighty Persian empire, feels wretched, 
because there is one porter at the king's gate, who is not 
obliged to do him homage ! What a multitude of sub- 
stantial evils are produced by the inquietudes of vanity 
— all in themselves ideal and imaginary ! 

9. The prophet must be faithful to his God ; and he 
must act so that he himself may appear as little as pos- 
sible in the miracle about to be wrought, that the excel- 
lency of the power may appear to be of God, and not of 
man ; and that God alone may have all the glory. " Elisha 
sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go, and wash in Jor- 
dan seven times ; and thy flesh shall come again unto 
thee, and thou shalt be clean," ver. 10. Here Elisha 


spake as a prophet, the order was from heaven ; neither 
the will nor the device of the prophet was consulted ; he 
acted under immediate inspiration, and was not even 
permitted to appear in the business. Man may mistake, 
God cannot. Whatever he says is good ; whatever he 
commands is right ; and he so doth his marvellous works, 
that men may fear before him. It is the height of pre- 
sumption for the creature to set up his wisdom against 
that of the all- wise Creator. God intended that Naaman 
should be cleansed ; but that cleansing shall be effected 
by washing seven times in the river Jordan. Though 
seven was a number that intimated perfection among the 
Jews, and is often used in this sense ; and here it might 
be supposed that the command meant, Wash sufficiently, 
wash till thou find that thou art clean ; yet nothing of 
this kind is intended, the works are to be taken literally ; 
for God, in the law, had commanded that the leper should 
be sprinkled seven times, in order to his healing ; see 
Lev. xiv. 7- The command of the prophet, therefore, 
was in strict accordance with the law ; and if there were 
reason for the one, there was equal reason for the other ; 
but the law was holy ; and, therefore, the command- 
ment was holy, just, and good. 

10. " But Naaman was wroth, and went away," ver. 
11. And why was he wroth? Because the prophet 
treated him without ceremony, and prescribed a simple 
and expenseless mode of cure ! How strange that some 
people will not accept help unless it come to them in 
their own way, and that way generally the worst calcu- 
lated to convey it ! God's mode of cure is infallible ; he 
that neglects so great a salvation, must live and die under 
all the power and virulence of his disease. Naaman ex- 
pected to be treated with great ceremony, and instead of 
humbling himself before the Lord's prophet, he expected 
the prophet of the Lord to humble himself before him. 


11. Behold, I thought. Hear him express his thought*, 
for every word is emphatic. 1. / thought he will surely 
come out to me — I never thought he would make his 
servant the medium of communication between me and 
himself. 2. / thought he would come out to me and stand 
— Present himself before me, and stand as a servant 
before his master, to hear the orders of his God. 3. 1 
thought he would stand and call on the name of the 
Lord his God — So that his God and himself might ap- 
pear to do me service and honour. 4. I thought that 
he would strike his hand over the place; for I can 
never suppose that any healing virtue can be conveyed 
without contact. Had he acted thus, I should have con- 
sidered myself treated according to the dignity of my 
master, and might have expected, from such a rational 
procedure, the cure for which I have come from the land 
of Syria. Why wash in his Jordan ? " Are not Abana 
and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the 
waters of Israel ! May I not wash in them and be clean ?" 
If my cure is to be effected by cold water bathing, surely 
I have means at home, superior to any that this country 
can afford. I am insulted ; and shall instantly lay the 
business before my prince. " So he turned and went 
away in a rage," ver. 12. 

12. Having thus expressed his thoughts, he began to 
act upon them, and was proceeding on his return, till a 
prudent servant ventured to reason with him thus: — 
" My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great 
thing, wouldst thou not have done it? How much 
rather then when he saith, Wash and be clean?" ver. 
13. " The prescription is easy and unexpensive ; thou 
hast come a great way, and it is worthy of trial, and it is 
time enough to give way to resentment and displeasure, 
when, after trial, the prescription shall be found ineffi- 
cient." Won by such forcible reasoning, he directed his 


way to Jordan, dipped himself seven times, according to 
the saying of the man of God ; and Ms Jlesh came again 
like the Jlesh of a little child, and he was clean ! Thus, 
when he began to suspect his own wisdom, repress his 
choler, pay respect to the command of the prophet, and 
hearken to the advice of his prudent servants, he used 
the prescribed means with a success that astonished him- 
self, and filled him with gratitude both to God and his 
prophet. How much pain and misery should we avoid 
if we had true simplicity of heart, took God at his word, 
and never leaned to our own understanding, when we 
found that opposed to the positive commands of God ! 
Had Naaman continued to prefer his own prejudices to 
the directions of the prophet, he would have returned to 
Syria as loathsome a leper as he came away ; and per- 
haps wreaked his vengeance on others, when only him- 
self was -in fault. 

Secondly. It may he necessary now to consider more 
particularly the nature of leprosy in general, as a disease; 
and as an emblematical representation of sin ; and what 
is to be done to effect its cure. 

Naaman, the chief character in this history, was a 
leper; and with him, as such, we are principally con- 
cerned. We have already seen that the leprosy was a 
dangerous and inveterate disease, and the worst of all 
those that can possibly afflict the human body : and be- 
cause it is such, it has by general consent been consi- 
dered a fit emblem of sin, in whatever concerns its 
nature, its operation, and its cure. 

(1) Its nature. It was a disorder, howsoever pro- 
duced, that infected the whole body, had its seat in a 
highly vitiated state of the blood and other juices, and 
manifested itself on the whole surface by eruptions, and 
scrofulous scaly excrescences, till the whole skin became 
thick, and wrinkled like that of an elephant, whence 


one species of this disorder had its name — elephantiasis. 
In this disorder the hair falls off; the eyes, nose, ears, 
and mouth, become exceedingly ulcerated, discharging 
a most foetid and offensive ichor ; the joints swell, and 
in the flexures the skin and external muscles crack 
across, so that the toes and fingers ultimately fall off. 
Taste entirely forsakes the patient, so that he is totally 
incapable of distinguishing, in this way, any kind of 
food ; yet at times, a most voracious appetite, and satiri- 
asis, the most libidinous and disgusting : in short, the 
patient is an object of extreme horror. Areteus, a Greek 
physician of Cappadocia, who was well acquainted with 
this disease, gives us a fearful description of it in the 
thirteenth chapter of his second book, Iltpt ainuv km 
trripiKitv km xpoviKmv iraSwv, " Concerning the causes and 
signs of acute and chronic diseases," from which I shall 
at present take only one sentence. Speaking of the fall- 
ing off of the extremities, he says : — Km ruv fieXetvv wpo- 
airo0vr)OKU tov avQpoirov a.\? 1 ^KTmoirioig, pig, So.ktv\oi, irodtg, 
mSoia, km b\ai x«p £ £> " The nose, the fingers, the feet, the 
genitals, and the hands and arms of the man die, pre- 
viously to the death of the body." Dr. Mead, who had 
seen a case of leprosy, describes it thus : — " I have seen 
a remarkable case of this in a countryman, whose body 
was so miserably seized with it, that his skin was shining 
as if covered with snow ; and as the furfuraceous scales 
were daily rubbed off, the flesh appeared quick or raw 

Mr. Maundrell, in the letters at the end of his Travels 
in the Holy Land, referring to the account of Naaman's 
leprosy, speaks thus : " When I was in the Holy Land, 
I saw several that laboured under Gehazi's distemper ; 
particularly at Sichem, now Naplousi, there were no less 
than ten that came begging to us at one time. Their 
manner is to come with small baskets in their hands, to 


receive the alms of the charitable ; their touch being 
still held infectious, or at least unclean. The distemper, 
as I saw it on them, was quite different from what I 
have seen it in England; for it not only defiles the 
whole surface of the body with a foul scurf, but also 
deforms the joints of the body, particularly those of the 
wrists and ancles, making them swell with a gouty, 
scrofulous substance, very loathsome to look on. I 
thought their legs seemed like those of old battered 
horses, such as are often seen in drays in England. The 
whole distemper, indeed, as it there appeared, was so 
noisome, that it might well pass for the utmost cor- 
ruption of the human body on this side the grave. And 
certainly the inspired penmen could not have found out 
a fitter emblem whereby to express the uncleanness and 
odiousness of vice." 

Of this most horrible disorder I have myself seen one 
case. Such a deplorable object I never before beheld ; 
the body, arms, legs, &c, were terrific; every sort of 
contact and association with this person was avoided by 
old and young, and life itself was an insupportable bur- 
den ; so that the patient was incessantly and most ear- 
nestly entreating God to put an end to it! I believe 
death in any form would have been preferred by this 
unfortunate person to this life of suffering and calamity. 

Areteus, already quoted, observes that the elephan- 
tiasis, that species of leprosy which he so fearfully de- 
scribes, has its name from the circumstance of the skin, 
knees, and joints, by swellings, wrinkles, and deeply- 
indented lines, resembling those of the elephant. It 
was called also the leonis, the lion disorder ; and Hera- 
cleiosis, the Herculean disorder, because of its insuper- 
able strength and virulence. And here a thought 
suggests itself: as Hercules is represented as having his 
whole body brought into a state of insupportable in- 

i 2 


flammation by reason of a poisoned shirt, so that in rage 
and despair he threw himself into the flames of a 
burning pyre on Mount CEta, and this put an end to 
his miserable life ; was it not most probably the leprosy 
by which this ancient savage was afflicted ? and, on this 
account, did he not rather choose to throw himself into 
the flames, than to endure the anguish and misery occa- 
sioned by this affliction ? This is very likely to be the 
truth of a case which fable has so much disguised ; for 
Hercules was no fabulous person, though many fables 
have been made concerning him. 

(2) Its operation. In the Hebrew this disease is 
termed njnv tsarath, from m* tsara, to smite ; but the 
root, in Arabic, signifies to cast down, or prostrate ; and 
in jEthiopic, to cause to cease, because, says Stockius, it 
prostrates the strength of man, and obliges him to cease 
from all work and labour. 

As this disorder spread over the body in thin white 
scales, it had its name, \nrpa, leprosy, from. \mpi£, a 
scale, because the body presented the appearance of thin 
white scales, constantly falling off, and having their 
places supplied by others which were continually 

Among the Jews, there were three principal signs by 
which the leprosy was known : 1. A bright spot. 2. A 
rising or enamelling of the surface. 3. A scab. These 
signs are particularly specified in Lev. xiii. 1, &c. ; and 
the ordinance concerning them, and everything relative 
to the leprosy, may be found in large detail in that and 
the following chapter. From both chapters I shall ex- 
tract all the characteristics and circumstances descriptive 
of this disorder; and show that they are highly illus- 
trative of sin and sinfulness in the heart and life of 
man : — 

1. The leprosy began with a spot, a simple hidden 


infection being the cause ; for the spot itself was only 
the first ostensible evidence of the vicious principle 

This is descriptive of sin; there is a contagion in 
human nature, an evil principle that is opposed to the 
truth and holiness of God. This is the grand hidden 
cause of all transgression. It is a contagion from which 
no soul of man is free ; it is propagated with the human 
species — no human being was ever bom without it : it 
is the infection of our nature ; is commonly called ori- 
ginal sin ; sin, because it is without conformity to the 
nature, will, and law of God ; and is constantly in oppo- 
sition to all three. The doctrine of original sin has 
been denied by many, while its opposers, as well as 
those who allow it, give the most unequivocal proofs 
that they are subjects of its working. I have seen its 
opposers and supporters impugn and defend it with an 
asperity of temper and coarseness of diction, that gave 
sufficient evidence of a fallen nature ; both, Jonah-like, 
thinking they did well to be angry ! A late writer on 
the subject has excelled in this way, and by his bad 
tempers spoiled his works. I might be justified in 
naming him, but I need not; he has published two 
books on the Scriptures, translating and commenting; 
they well witness against his evil tempers ; and, for the 
present, I spare him. Evil tempers are leprous spots, 
which sufficiently indicate the deeply radicated contagion 
in the hearts of those in whose lives they are evident. 

2. This spot was very conspicuous; and as effects 
necessarily suppose the causes whence they originate, 
the bright shining spot appearing in the flesh, with the 
circumstances mentioned in the above chapters, gave 
presumptive evidence of the presence of the leprous 

This also is applicable to that malady of the soul, of 


which the leprosy has heen considered a fit emblem. It 
is a seed that has its development, growth, gradual 
increase, and perfection. Though latent, it is never 
inactive ; it also " grows with our growth, and strength- 
ens with our strength." The human heart is its proper 
soil ; and no seed of it, in any spirit, has ever perished 
since the original apostasy of man. God alone can root 
it out. 

3. The leprous contagion was of a diffusive nature, 
and soon spread over the whole system, pervading and 
contaminating every part. 

Nothing can be more descriptive of sin than this ; as 
it spreads in the mind, so it diffuses itself through the 
whole life. Every natural feeling, every temper and 
passion, every purpose and action, partaking of its in- 
fluence. It is an infernal leaven, that spreads itself 
through the whole lump, till all is leavened ; and the 
whole conduct becomes a tissue of transgression. For 
every imagination of the thoughts of the heart of man 
is only evil continually, Gen. vi. 5. Thus it was in the 
antediluvians, and thus it has been invariably in the 
postdiluvians, down to the present time. 

4. The leprosy communicated its infectious nature, 
not only to the whole of the patient's body, but also to 
his clothes and habitation. 

As a sinner is infected, so is he infectious; by his 
precept and example, he spreads the infernal contagion 
wherever he goes. He joins with the multitude to do 
evil, strengthening and being strengthened in the wavs 
of sin and death; forwarding, by his influence, the 
growth and development of the evil principle in the 
young and inexperienced ; and becomes an especial snare 
and curse to his own household. "What a wide-wasting 
woe and evil is even one sinner ! he spreads desolation 
and death wherever he comes. Satan drives, and he 


runs ; or, spontaneously with the tempter, he is led 
captive by him at his will. By the instrumentality of 
one wicked man, Satan can do ten thousand times more 
evil than he can in his own person. He deceiveth the 
world, waters the infernal seed, and powerfully works in 
the hearts of the children of disobedience. What a 
dishonour to be a servant, and much more to be a slave 
of the devil ! O why do not sinners lay this to heart ! 

5. The leprosy rendered its miserable subject unfit for 
any office in civil or religious life. Areteus remarks a 
dulness and hebitude that distinguished persons labouring 
under this calamity, that prevented all activity ; and the 
miserable state of their hands, arms, and legs rendered 
it impossible for them to perform any duty of life, or 
any service for others. 

This also has its parallel in the sinner's case : — what 
duty of religion can he fulfil, what work of righteousness 
can he perform ? Many are willing to perform the 
duties of life, but they are unable : the sinner is not 
only unable to do any good thing, but he is totally in- 
disposed to it. To read the sacred writings he has no 
taste; to pray for his own salvation he has no disposition; 
to strive to enter in at the strait gate he has no energy. 
Even his negative character is, he is ungodly, and with- 
out strength. No wonder he falls into sin; and no 
wonder he falls before every well-circumstanced sin. 
"Wherever there are opportunity and place, he has the 
disposition to offend. He is never indisposed where 
iniquity calls, and the sin of his constitution invites; 
but he invariably feels a universal backwardness to every 
good word and work. , 

6. The leper was loathsome, and unfit for society ; he 
was also dangerous to society, because of the contagious 
nature of his disorder. 

That a sinner must be, as such, abominable in the 


sight of God, and of all good men ; that he is unfit foi 
the society of the righteous; and that he cannot, as a 
sinner, be admitted into the church and kingdom (A 
God, — need no proof. Though God be a God of mercy 
and compassion — though he have loved the world so as 
to give his Son Jesus Christ to die for the sin of the 
world ; yet the sinner against his own soul, who neglects 
this great salvation, and will not come to Christ that he 
may have life ; and who prefers sin, sinners, and theii 
ways, to God, his followers, his angels, and his heaven , 
must be abominable in his sight. "With the wicked he 
is angry every day, whose carnal mind is enmity against 
God, and who are continually in heart and conduct 
saying, " Depart from us, for we desire not the know- 
ledge of thy ways." Would it be consistent with the 
holiness and perfections of God to look on such with 
allowance, much less with complacency and delight ? 

7- The leper was obliged to be separated from society, 
both civil and religious; to dwell by himself without 
the camp or the city, and hold commerce with none. 

It is only owing to the universality of the evil, that 
sinners are not expelled from society as the most pesti- 
ferous of all contagions, and the most dangerous of all 
monsters; and be obliged to hide themselves in dens 
and caves of the earth, and shun all commerce with 
their fellow-creatures. Ten lepers might associate to- 
gether, and form a lazar-house, an infected community ; 
but no untainted person ,could associate with them. 
They being partakers of the same infection, could carry 
on conjointly the begging business of their wretched 
life ; and civil society is now generally maintained, be- 
cause composed of a leprous community. 

8. The leper was obliged to wear some mark, that 
might designate his state ; put his hand upon his mouth, 
;md proclaim his own uncleanness ; and, sensible of his 


plague, continue thus humbled and abased before God 
and man. 

The spiritual leper, who wishes to be healed, must 
humble himself before God and man; sensible of his 
own sore, and the plague of his heart, confess his trans- 
gressions, look to God for a cure, from whom alone it 
can be received ; and bring that Sacrifice, by which only 
the guilt can be taken away, and the soul purified from 
all unrighteousness. The Chaldee paraphrast says, the 
words which the leper was obliged to utter, in order to 
prevent others from coming near him, that they might 
not catch the infection, were, " Be not ye made unclean ! 
Be not ye made unclean !" If every sinner were obliged 
to proclaim his own state thus, what a solemn and awful 
appearance would the whole of society exhibit ! 

(3) Its cure. 1. We have already seen that the 
leprosy was a disorder generally acknowledged to be 
incurable by any human art or means, and therefore no 
attempt was made to remove it ; for what, is directed to 
be done under the Levitical law was not in order to cure 
the leper, but to declare him cured, and fit for society, 
when God has wrought such a change. See Lev. xiv. 

In like manner the contagion of sin, its guilt, and its 
power, can only be removed by the hand of God; 
all means, without his special influence, can be of no 

2. The law of Moses required that the body must be 
sprinkled and washed, and a sacrifice offered for the sin 
of the soul, before the leper could be declared to be 

To cleanse the spiritual leper, the Lamb of God must 
be slain, and the sprinkling of his blood be applied ; for 
God has ordained, "Everything must be purified by 
blood; and without shedding of blood there is no re- 



3. "When the leper was cleansed, he was obliged to 
show himself to the priest, whose province it was to 
pronounce him clean, and declare him fit for intercourse 
with civil and religious society. 

When a sinner is converted from the error of his 
ways, it is the business, as it is the prerogative, of the 
ministers of Christ, after having duly acquainted them- 
selves with every circumstance, to declare the person 
converted from sin to holiness, to unite him wdth the 
people of God, and admit him to all the ordinances 
which belong to the faithful. 

4. When the leper was cleansed, he was obliged by 
the law to offer a gift unto the Lord for his healing, as 
a proof of his gratitude, and an evidence of his obe- 

When a sinner is restored to the Divine favour, he 
should offer continually the sacrifice of a grateful heart ; 
and in willing obedience show forth the virtues of Him 
who hath called him from darkness and wretchedness, to 
marvellous light, life, and happiness ; and who has asso- 
ciated him to the church of the first-born, whose names 
are written in heaven. 

Reader, such was the leprosy, its destructive nature 
and consequences, and the means of removing it : such 
is the spiritual evil represented by it, such its conse- 
quences, and such the means by which it can be taken 
away. The disease of sin, inflicted by the devil, can 
only be cured by the power of God. 

1. Art thou a leper ? Do the spots of this spiritual 
infection begin to appear upon thee ? 

2. Art thou young, and only entering into the ways 
of the world and sin ? Stop ! Bad habits are more 
easily conquered to-day than they will be to-morrow. 

3 Art thou stricken in years and rooted in transgres- 
sion ? How kind is thy Maker in having preserved thee 


alive so long ! Turn from thy transgressions — humble 
thy soul before him — confess thine iniquity — be sorry for 
thy sin — and implore forgiveness. Seek — and thou, 
even thou, shalt find. Behold the Lamb of God, who 
taketh away the sin of the world ! 

4. Hast thou been cleansed, and hast not returned to 
give glory to God ? Hast not continued in the truth, 
serving thy Maker and Saviour with a loving, obedient 
heart ? How cutting is that word, " Were there not leu. 
cleansed, but where are the nine ?" Thou art probably 
one of them. Be confounded at thy ingratitude, and 
distressed for thy backsliding, and apply a second tinu- 
for the healing efficacy of the great atonement. Turn, 
thou backslider, for he is married unto thee, and will 
heal thy backsliding, and love thee freely. Amen, be it 
so, Lord Jesus ! 

Thus we have seen the nature and operation of Naa- 
man's disorder, and how aptly the leprosy adumbrates 
sin, the spiritual disease of the soul ; and we have seen 
and recommended the general mode of healing. There 
was something, however, in Naaman's case that requires 
a more particular consideration, as it involves circum- 
stances of general and frequent occurrence. 

Thirdly, And now I come specially to advert to the 
simplicity of the means which the prophet prescribed 
for his healing : " Go and wash in Jordan seven times, 
and thou shalt be clean ;" — and under them, the simpli- 
city of the means which God prescribes for the salvation 
of sinners. 

The simplicity of the prescription excited the ani- 
mosity of the carnal mind in Naaman. I will not go to 
his Jordan — "Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of' 
Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel ?" I an- 
swer, merely considered as waters, they might be as 
good ; merely considered as larger rivers than Jordan, 


they might he better. But considered as rivers to which 
God did not command him to go, they were of no worth. 
The ordinance of God has its efficacy, not from any- 
thing in itself calculated to produce a salutary effect, but 
from the consideration that God chooses to make it the 
instrument or means by which he will dispense his good- 
ness and healing power. He has ever chosen the weak 
to confound the mighty, and the things that are not (of 
no repute) to bring to nought the things that are (in 
high estimation among men) ; and this he does that he 
may bring down the haughtiness of man, and that no 
flesh may glory in his presence. 

1. There ever has been a class of persons (and they 
are still frequently to be met with) who think they can 
mend the work of the Almighty, and improve his plan of 
human salvation. To avoid offence, I could wish to find 
a technical term by which I might designate them ; — to 
call them Naamanites would, perhaps, be doing them too 
much honour ; for Naaman, on being reasoned with, 
submitted to the ordinance of God, and found God's 
way efficacious ; but this, to any of them, has rarely oc- 
curred ; and to the whole of this class, is highly pro- 
blematical. I shall coin a term, and call them " Abana 
and Pharpar men." They have been of old, and have 
left their successors behind them. 

2. Look at the history of the world, which is properly 
the history of the soul, mind, and heart of man; arid 
what is the great tale that is told in this history, from 
the foundation of the world down to the present time ? 
The tale is, " Man is a wretched being through all his 
generations." He has been sensible of his wretchedness, 
and all his struggles have been to find happiness. In 
every object of sense, and in every possible state, he has 
sought it. In what is the chief good of man to be 
found ? The " Abana and Pharpar men" of the day 


were at hand, and pointed out the thing, and the means 
to attain it. The pursuit commenced — the means were 
ardently used, but without success ! The object, the 
thing in the attainment of which happiness was pro- 
mised, was attained, but the end was not answered. 
Other objects were proposed, suitable means of attain- 
ment specified, and a vigorous pursuit strongly recom- 
mended. These were tried in their turn, and with equal 

3. The " Abana and Pharpar men" then began to dis- 
agree among themselves.; some cried one thing, some 
another ; and the greater part knew not what they recom- 
mended, nor with what certainty they formed rules : 
they then divided themselves into sects and parties, 
and each had its rules, its discipline, and its followers. 
Among these, the main object was lost sight of by their 
contentions. The Abana and Pharpar of each class were 
infinitely better in their view, and in their mode of ar- 
gumentation, than those of the others; and in their 
wordy strife, truth was obscured, and the mind bewil- 

4. It was equally in vain that a new class of " Abana 
and Pharpar men" rose up, whose object was, " to 
examine all that had been said concerning this supreme 
good by all the different classes, and select from the 
whole what bade fair to be the truth of the case ; and, 
by giving infallible directions to men, direct them safely 
and effectually to the attainment of what would make 
them happy." This last effort of the "Abana and Phar- 
par men" of the times, previously to the Christian dis- 
pensation, was equally fruitless. 

5. The world by wisdom knew not God. All those 
men sought for a happiness which should be the fruit of 
their own earning ; and the Supreme God, as the Foun- 
tain and Giver of all goodness, was left entirely out of 


the question. The spirituality of the soul was rarely 
considered, and not generally known or understood; 
therefore no spiritual happiness was sought, hecause its 
necessity was not known. 

6. God is a spirit, the human soul is a spirit ; and the 
happiness suitable to the nature and state of man must 
be spiritual. The soul has infinite desires and wishes ; 
and what can satisfy these wishes must be infinite. God 
alone is that good ; and in Him alone is this happiness 
to be found. The "Abana and Pharpar men" of all ages 
have shut their eyes against this light, and refused to 
submit to the righteousness of God, but have gone about 
to establish their own righteousness. 

7. At length God in his mercy revealed his Son, who 
was spoken of by all the prophets since the world began, 
and men were commanded to hear him. He spoke of 
God, of holiness, of heaven, of repentance, of faith, of 
regeneration, of judgment, of future-rewards and punish- 
ments, of the final misery of the ungodly, and of the 
righteous shining like the sun in the kingdom of. their 
Father. The scribes and pharisees, the "Abana and 
Pharpar men" of his day, spoke against him, and blas- 
phemed. They opposed the traditions of the fathers to 
the words of life which he taught ; and they, in fact, 
maintained that those turbid rivers of their Damascus 
were better than all the waters of Shiloh, and the laver 
of regeneration. They went farther; they persecuted 
him unto death, and he made a sacrificial offering of his 
life for the sin of the world. 

8. His followers, the apostles, the genuine Elishas of 
their times, proclaimed their crucified Lord and Master ; 
commanding all men everywhere to repent, and to be- 
lieve in Christ, as having been delivered up to death for 
their offences, and having risen again for their justifica- 
tion; with the most positive assurances that they who 


lid so should receive remission of sins, be made par- 
;akers of the Holy Spirit, have their souls cleansed from 
dl unrighteousness, and in consequence be happy, be- 
cause saved from sin, the source and cause of misery. 
Multitudes received their testimony, and all that did so 
were made partakers of the supreme good. These 
blessed men went everywhere, preaching the gospel of 
the kingdom of God, and forming into holy com- 
munities, called churches, all who believed in Christ 

9. To preserve them in the state of salvation into 
which they had been brought, they instituted, by the 
command of their Lord, baptism, with water, in the 
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost, as an initiatory ordinance into the church ; and 
bread and wine, as a memorial of the sacrificial death of 
Christ. There were not long wanting "Abana and 
Pharpar men," who either derided or neglected these 
ordinances, or changed their form ; and not only denied 
their efficacy, but also denied the Lord that bought them, 
and attributed to a decent, orderly life (the " Abana and 
Pharpar" of their own invention) all that apostolic men 
attributed to the sacrificial death and powerful Spirit of 
the Lord Jesus. They cannot think that God required 
any such sacrifice, and that he can (for they have no 
doubt of it) forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin, 
through his own benevolence, without any atonement ; 
and they loudly proclaim that their Damascene " Abana 
and Pharpar" are better than the blood of Jesus Christ, 
which was shed for us ; and the body of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, which was broken for us ; and all the other doc- 
trines that form the orthodox Christian's creed ! 

10. To all those innovators or opposers of the truth 
of God, we simply say, " God has commanded us to be- 
lieve and do as we believe and practise ; and where the 


word of such a King is, there is power. By these truths, 
hundreds of thousands are reclaimed from the error of 
their ways, and made holy, happy, and useful ; an honour 
to God, and a blessing to men." "We hare, further, too 
much reason to state that not one profligate soul, not 
one sinner is converted to God, and changed from sin 
to holiness, by all the Damascene waters which have 
been so lavishly effused by the " Abana and Pharpar 
men ;" while the doctrine of Christ crucified is, to them 
that believe, the power of God, and the wisdom of 

11. A powerful attack has been lately made by some 
" Abana and Pharpar men," on the means of salvation, 
and particularly on prayer. " God," say they, " knows 
what we want; and if, of his own benevolence, he be 
not disposed to supply our wants, no prayers nor entrea- 
ties can move him to do it; and if he be disposed to do 
it, our wants shall be supplied without our asking. There r 
fore prayer for these things is foolish in the principle, 
ridiculous in its application, and useless in its perform- 
ance." To all such we answer, Masters, if God had 
bidden us to do some great thing, should we not have 
done it ? How much rather when he saith, " Ask, and 
ye shall receive ; seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and 
it shall be opened to you." ■" Believe on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, and ye shall be saved." We have the positive 
command of God for prayer, for supplication, and for 
importunity. Ask, says Jesus ; — there is prayer. Seek, 
says the Saviour of the world; — there is supplication. 
Knock, says the Sovereign of angels and men ; — there is 
importunity. Shall we, then, put the foolish, and in- 
deed contemptible, directions and sayings of these "Aba- 
na and Pharpar men," in place of the salutary commands 
of the Supreme God ? That be far from us. 

12. We therefore in simplicity, like Naaman in his 


better mind, take God at his word, acknowledge his 
right to prescribe the means by which we shall receive 
that salvation which is his free gift ; we go to the Jor- 
dan of his prescription, dip seven times, according to 
his order; and we return healed of our leprosy, giv- 
ing glory to God in the highest, and living to promote 
peace and good will among men. Hallelujah ! Jesus 
is exalted, and the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth ! 



Galatians iii. 21, 22. 

21. " If there had been a law given which could have given life, 
verily righteousness should have been by the law. 

22. " But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the 
promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that be- 

The people of Galatia, to whom the apostle wrote, had 
been, at an early period of the gospel dispensation, con- 
verted to Christianity; and had given ample proofs of 
their conversion, by their attachment to St. Paid, who 
had been the instrument of that conversion, and by their 
obedience to the precepts of the gospel. But it appears 
that certain teachers had got among them, who unhappily 
succeeded in persuading them that an observance of the 
Mosaic law was indispensably necessary to their justifi- 
cation and final salvation. The apostle, being informed 
of this unhappy change, wrote this epistle to them, to call 
them back to the simplicity of the gospel : and he does 
this, partly by expostulating with them, and putting 
them in remembrance of their conversion to God, and 
the blessedness they then experienced; and partly by 
showing them the utter insufficiency of the Mosaic, or of 
any other law, to give life and salvation to men ; for, thus 
he argues in the text, If there had been a law given which 
could have given life — insured and made over life tern- 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 193 

poral, spiritual, and eternal, to those who should ohserve 
its precepts ; then righteousness — pardon of sin and sal- 
vation, should have been by that law, and the gospel 
scheme been utterly useless : but the Scripture — all the 
declarations of God in the law and by the prophets, 
hath concluded, avvtK.Xi.aiv, hath shut and locked up, as 
in a prison, both Jews and Gentiles, because all have 
sinned ; where they all continue as criminals, condemned 
to death, till the time of execution should come ; or till 
a merciful display of the lawgiver's goodness should 
take place, which is here called the promise by faith of 
Jesus Christ, namely, the promise made to Adam, 
The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent; 
and that contained in the covenant made with Abraham, 
In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed j 
the fulfilment of which promise, containing pardon and 
salvation, is given to them that believe in Christ, as 
having made an atonement for sin by his passion and 
death, thus opening the kingdom of heaven to all be- 
lievers ; no kind of obedience to any law being capable 
of producing such effects. 

To see the force of the apostle's argument and reason- 
ing, we must examine and explain the true import of 
some of the principal words in the text. These are, 
law, life, righteousness, promise, and faith ; and in doing 
this, the reasoning dependant on each will be intro- 

1. Law, vopoq, from ve/ito, includes the idea of appro- 
priation and assignment; giving to each his own, and 
guarding that own, or property, against the claims or 
aggressions of others. Suum cuique, " his own to every 
one," is its invariable motto. And as it ascertains pro- 
perty, so it secures and defends that property ; the ascer- 
tainment of rights, and the defence of those rights, being 


essential to the true notion of a just or rationally-consti- 
tuted law. 

The word law, mm torah, as used among the Hebrews, 
implied in its ideal meaning, instruction or teaching, from 
riT yarak, to teach ; for that law taught the knowledge 
of the true God, and the worship that was due to him, 
and instructed the people in all the duties of life : and 
among the Romans, law, lex, meant nearly the same, as 
the word comes from lego, I read ; law being a system of 
instruction committed to writing, and promulgated for 
the information of the people at large, that they might 
know their rights, and discern their duties. 

Law carries generally with it the idea of binding or 
restraint, it being designed to prevent evil, and thus 
oblige men to live according to its prescriptions, and 
within the limits it has defined. This supposes it to be 
derived from ligo, to bind. 

All law has professedly for its objects the prevention 
of evil, and the good of the governed ; and hence the 
subject finds that it is at once both his duty and interest 
to be obedient. While the law professes to ascertain 
the rights of the subject, and protect him in those rights, 
it clothes the ruler with authority and power to enforce 
and execute all its injunctions. Without authority and 
power in the ruler, all law would be idle and nugatory ; 
however excellently conceived and righteously con- 
structed, it would be of no avail, because there was no 
effective and acknowledged energy for its execution. 

2. By Life, in the text, we are not only to under- 
stand, on the general principles already laid down, 1. 
Security of life and property — protection against out- 
rage, rapine, spoil, and murder, which we have already 
seen to be the province of law, executed by a just ruler ; 
hut as the apostle is speaking of spiritual things, lie 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 195 

must mean spiritual life — the salvation and safety of the 
soul, preservation from death, with the right to live. 

2. Spiritual life, union with God, the Fountain of Life ; 
so that the man lives through him, to him, and for him. 

3. Eternal life, not only being, but well-being, infinitely 

3. Bighteousness, SiKawavvr], not only what is right 
and just in itself, and what contains the principles of all 
justice and morality, which is its literal and proper mean- 
ing ; and justification, i. e., the pardon of sin, reconcilia- 
tion to God, the removal of condemnation and liability 
to punishment for transgressions already committed ; but 
also the recovery of the forfeited right to life — life spi- 
ritual and eternal. This is a frequent meaning of the 
term in St. Paul's writings ; and by this word he ex- 
presses God's plan of saving sinners by Jesus Christ. 
See Rom. iii. 21, 22, 25, 26. 

4. Promise ; God's engagement with fallen man, that 
he would provide an atonement ; and especially his cove- 
nant with Abraham, that in his seed, from which the 
man Christ Jesus sprang, all nations of the earth should 
be blessed. This promise or engagement was made four 
hundred and thirty years before the giving of the law, 
and was formed independently of the peculiarities of the 
Jewish dispensation. It was made for the Gentile world 
when as yet there was no distinction of Jews, no law, 
no settlement in the afterwards promised land. Jesus 
Christ incarnated, preaching righteousness, proving his 
mission by miracle, suffering, dying, rising again from 
the dead, ascending into heaven, and becoming a medi- 
ator between God and man, having purchased eternal 
redemption for them — is what is meant by this promise. 

5. Faith ; implicit credence in what God has pro- 
mised, and what he has spoken concerning Christ ; 
trusting to his passion and death as a sacrificial offering, 


and sufficient atonement for sin. And because every 
blessing under the gospel is to be received by faith, 
hence the gospel itself is termed faith; so the apostle 
in the context : ver. 23, But before faith came — before the 
gospel dispensation was published, we mere kept under the 
law, shut up unto the faith — the gospel, which should after- 
wards be revealed; the law being only a schoolmaster 
{TraiSayioyoe, a leader of children to school), to bring 
us to Christ, that we might be justified — have our sins for- 
given, by faith — by believing in Christ as having died and 
made atonement for our sins. And he adds, ver. 25, 
But after that faith is come — the gospel way of salvation 
was published, we are no longer under a schoolmaster 
— under the law, as expecting justification through it, or 
salvation by it; as it was only intended to point out 
Christ by its ritual, and by its strict morality show the 
absolute necessity of such a sacrificial offering as that 
which was made to divine justice by his passion and 

The terms in the text being thus explained, we shall 
be able, on a review of the whole passage, to see and 
properly apprehend the force of the apostle's reasoning. 

Four things are here asserted by the apostle : — 

I. That men are under condemnation because of sin, 
have forfeited their life, and are exposed to death. 

II. That no law has been given that can redeem them 
from this perilous situation, and give them life. 

III. That the great promise of human redemption, ful- 
filled in the incarnation and death of Christ, is the only 
means of saving a lost world. 

And IV That the benefits of this redemption are to 
be received by faith. 

I. That men are under condemnation, &c. When 
God made man, he formed him as capable of doing his will, 
as of understanding it ; and having made him in his own 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 197 

image, the divine law was written on his heart : for the 
law of God is a transcript of his own righteousness, 
holiness, and truth. When man had fallen from his 
fidelity to his Maker, and thus become disunited from 
him who was his life, light, and holiness, he was no 
longer capable of perfectly loving his Creator, and worthily 
magnifying his name. God had given him a law, the 
spirit of which was, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
with all thy heart, soul," &c. This was plain, simple, 
holy, just, and good. 1. It was plain — so that it could 
not be mistaken. 2. Simple — so that it could not per- 
plex nor confound by distinctions and subtleties. 3. Holy 
— totally free either from sin or imperfection. 4. Just — 
as requiring no obedience but what the creature owed to 
its Creator. And 5. Good — as it led to the continual 
perfection of the creature, and secured its increasing 

To love God is to be happy ; to obey God is to con- 
tinue in his love. Man, ceasing to be obedient, did not 
continue in this love, and consequently lost his happi- 

But this was not the only evil that his transgression 
entailed upon him ; he fell into condemnation, because 
he had broken this law. When a law is broken, not 
only all the privileges it confers on the obedient are 
lost, for the transgressor has no longer any claim on it 
for protection and support; but he is condemned as a 
transgressor, to suffer the penalty due to his sin. And 
in a case of this kind, where disobedience implies trea- 
son, the crime is capital ; and the penalty is an everlast- 
ing separation from the presence of God, and the glory 
of his power. 

According to the spirit of St. Paul's language, such 
transgressors are considered as being arraigned, tried, 


found guilty, and condemned by the law, taken away 
from the place of judgment, committed to prison, and 
shut up in it, to await the time of execution. This is the 
import of the word cvviKkwtv, shut or locked up together 
in their prison-house, waiting in dreadful expectation the 
arrival of the order for their execution. 

II. No law has been given that can redeem them, &c. 
In this awful time of suspense, any appeal to the law is 
vain ; for by that is the knowledge of sin, and by that 
they are condemned. Law is justice ; and justice knows 
nothing of mercy. By them has it been broken, and it 
knows no forgiveness. No law can be made with any 
provision for the passing by or pardon of sin. Such a 
provision would be a provision for transgression, and an 
excitement to it. The obligations of justice would be at 
once weakened, if the law held out any hope for the par- 
don of transgression. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," 
is the language of the law ; and "Cursed is every one that 
continueth not in all the things that are written in the 
book of the law to do them," is among the penal sanctions 
by which God has fortified his law, and rendered it re- 
spectable. No abatement of this penalty, no remission 
of the offence : in vain is life requested ; life has already 
been forfeited ; and no law has ever been given, that 
can give back forfeited life. God's law is righteous, and 
can look with approbation only on what is righteous. It 
is holy ; and requires holiness in the motive, the purpose, 
and the act. The transgressor is unholy ; the law there- 
fore looks upon him with abhorrence. The law is true, 
and must fulfil all its declarations : — " The soul that sin- 
neth, it shall die," has already passed the lips of the Lord; 
and the law cannot give life. 

It may be asked indeed, " Why is the law so inex- 
orable and severe ?" I answer, there is no severity in it ; 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 199 

it is justice flowing from righteousness, holiness, and 
truth ; to be exorahle would be to resign its claims, and 
at once to change its nature. 

Yet this law is not vindictive ; it does nothing in the 
nature of revenge. In its requisitions it is calm and 
steady; so is it in its inflictions of punishment, they 
also flow from its righteousness, holiness, and truth. As 
it gives due warning by promulgating its determinations, 
there is no excuse for ignorance ; it has ascertained the 
proper line of conduct, and fixed the penalties of trans- 
gression. The duties are all reasonable, the penalties are 
suitable to the nature of the transgressions. 

But with a greater show of reason it may be asked, 
" Is it not out of the power of any man to fulfil the re- 
quisitions of this law, as it requires an unvarying perfect 
obedience, and extends its demands to the very thoughts 
and purposes of the heart ? Is it not, therefore, cruel to 
place a man in such circumstances, in which he must in- 
variably transgress ? As no man, unless entirely pure and 
holy, could keep such a law ; should not therefore the 
powers of the subject be brought up to the spirituality 
and perfection of the law, or the law be brought down 
by moderated claims to the abilities and state of fallen 
sinful man ?" 

1. To this I answer : the law is precisely what it should 
be, as it is an emanation from the righteousness, holiness, 
and truth of God. It is also perfectly reasonable ; it 
enjoins nothing that is not right. To love God with 
all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to serve him 
through that principle of love, are so perfectly consistent 
with reason and good sense, that every man must see at 
once that less could not, should not, be required. It 
less than this reasonable service were our duty, our in- 
terest would be lessened in the same proportion, and our 
happiness be necessarily incomplete. 

VOL. I. K 


2. This law, as it proceeded from the immaculate 
nature of God, was always the same. It was the law 
given to our first parents. It was suited to the nature of 
man, who was created in the image of God ; there was 
nothing in it too hard for him ; he was as the command- 
ment — holy, just, and good : and it would be shockingly 
absurd to suppose, that when man, through his own 
fault, sinned against his God, and fell from his perfec- 
tion, that God must then bring down his law to a level 
with his sinful imperfection, that he might not by trans- 
gressing incur farther penalty ! The thought, seriously 
indulged, is blasphemy. A law thus framed could be 
no expression of the divine mind, could not have his 
sanction, and could be no rule of moral action. 

3. " But might not the law have made provision for 
such delinquencies, if not by moderating its claims, yet 
by granting pardon ?" That is, Could not justice reverse 
its own sentence righteously pronounced ? Could it not 
condemn and acquit at the same time? For justice 
must condemn an evil action. We have seen already 
that no law could make provision for pardon — that this 
would defeat its own purposes, and dissolve the bond of 
moral obligation. No law, therefore, could give life, in 
the case where death had been incurred, and the sentence 
of death pronounced. Hence it is an eternal invariable 
truth, that no law has been given among men, or even 
by God to men, that can give life ; and, consequently, 
righteousness, or pardon of sin, cannot be by the law — 
a law — or any law; and for all that the law even of 
God can do, the guilt and consequent punishment of 
sin must remain for ever. If God be disposed to save 
man, some other method of salvation must be found ; or 
the fallen children of men must sink lower and lower 
into the gulf of their own impurities and misery, and 
at last into the bottomless pit of endless perdition. 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 20] 

But if the law be so totally inefficient for all the pur- 
poses of reconciliation to God, and eternal salvation ; 
may we not then, in the language of the context, ver. 19, 
ask, " Wherefore, then, serveth the law ?" Of what real 
use can it be in the economy of salvation ? I answer, 
It serves the most important purposes : 1. Its purity and 
strictness show us its origin, — it came from God. All 
religious institutions, merely human, though pretendedly 
from heaven, show their origin, by extravagant demands 
in some cases, and sinful concessions in others. In the 
law of God nothing of this appears, and therefore we 
see it to be a transcript of the divine nature. 2. It 
shows us the perfection of the original state of man ; 
for as the law was suited to his state, and the law is 
holy, and the commandment holy, just, and good, so 
was his nature; it is, therefore, a comment on those 
words, " God made man in his own image, and in his 
own likeness." 3. It serves to show the nature of sin ; 
the real obliquity of a crooked line can only be ascer- 
tained by laying a straight line to it : thus the fall of 
man, and the depth of that fall, are ascertained by the 
law. 4. It serves to convict man of sin, righteousness, 
and judgment; it shows him the deplorable state into 
which he is fallen, and the great danger to which he is 
exposed. 5. It serves as a schoolmaster, or leader of 
children to school, iraidaywyos, to convince us of the 
absolute necessity and value of the Gospel, without 
which no soul can entertain even a hope of salvation. 
6. It serves to show us the perfection and excellence of 
that state into which we are to be brought by the grace 
of the Gospel ; for that pure and holy moral law must 
be written upon the hearts of believers; and its pre- 
cepts, both in letter and spirit, become the rule of their 

The law, therefore, though it cannot give life, serves 
k 2 


the most important purposes in the economy of the 
Gospel; and unless it be preached strongly and fully, 
the necessity of a Redeemer will scarcely appear. Thus, 
then, serveth the law. 

III. These considerations lead us to the great promise 
of human redemption, fulfilled in the incarnation, teach- 
ing, passion, and death of Jesus Christ, as the only means 
of saving a lost world. 

Alan, being utterly undone by his transgression, dis- 
abled in his soul through moral evil, and condemned to 
death because of his sins ; and no law or dispensation of 
any kind or form having been given, that could give him 
life, and save him from death eternal ; God, in the pleni- 
tude of his mercy, devised means that this his banished 
should not be eternally expelled from him. JESUS, 
the Almighty's Fellow, must come down from heaven, 
and be incarnated by the Holy Spirit, in the womb of a 
virgin — live among men — point out, by his teaching, the 
way of holiness that leads to heaven — suffer in his body, 
and at last pour out his blood, in order to make an 
atonement for the sin of the world ; and thus, as the 
representative of the human race, being a partaker of 
human flesh and blood, he bore in his own body, in the 
garden of Gethsemane and upon the cross, the punish- 
ment which belonged to all who had sinned, and were 
partakers of that nature. God, manifested in the flesh, 
made the atonement by giving up his life, expressly 
purposing that this death should be sacrificial, and 
should be the price of redemption for the great sinful 
family, captives to sin, and imprisoned, under condemna- 
tion to an endless banishment from God, the Fountain 
of true and endless felicity. And in reference to this 
purpose, Christ must suffer and rise again from the dead, 
in order that repentance and remission of sin might be 
proclaimed in bis name among all nations ; all mankind 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 203 

being thus called upon to believe on him, as having 
been delivered for their offences, and raised again for 
their justification. 

Though the hand of violence appeared as evidently in 
the apprehending of Christ, and his subsequent maltreat- 
ment, as the hand of injustice did in his condemnation 
and death ; yet, we must take heed that we attribute 
not to Jewish malice and violence, that which was 
brought about in the order of God's grace and infinite 
mercy. Jesus must shed his blood, and pour out his 
life for the sin of the world ; and this must be a volun- 
tary sacrifice : had there been any reluctance on the part 
of the sufferer, the sacrifice had been marred ; had his 
death been the mere effect of Jewish malice, and in- 
flicted by their violence, it would not have been sacrifi- 
cial. The salvation of a lost world, by Jesus Christ, is 
ever attributed to the love of God : from this source all 
must flow spontaneously, and without compulsion or 
restraint. Could he be dragged to death, and die by 
malicious violence, who, if he had willed, might have 
had more than twelve legions of angels to defend and 
deliver him ? Could he be compelled to appear before 
Pilate by that most disorderly and unruly mob, to whom, 
when he only announced his name, so great was the 
authority and influence, that they went backward, and 
fell to the ground, John xviii. 6 ? No ! That Person 
who ever appeared to have all nature under his control 
by the miracles he wrought, could not have his life 
reluctantly taken away by a Jewish mob. He was him- 
self solicitous to guard us against an error of this kind, 
as it would tend directly to vitiate, if not destroy, the 
merit of his offering ; therefore, he says, " I lay down 
my life for the sheep." " Therefore doth my Father love 
me, because I lay down my life that I might take it 
again ; no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down 


of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have 
power to take it up;" John x. 15, 17, 18. No words 
can be more dignified — none more decisive of the fact. 
He gave his life for the life of the world ; and his death 
was as voluntary as it was sacrificial and atoning. 

Man in his natural state is presented to us, 1. As 
guilty. 2. As unholy. 

1. As guilty, he needs that righteousness or pardon 
which cannot come by the law. 

2. As unholy, he needs that purification and holiness, 
without which none can see God. This twofold work 
requires a twofold agency. 1. To blot out sin, Christ 
must shed his life's blood ; without shedding of blood 
there was no remission even typified under the law ; 
and the blood was the life of the beast : indicating that 
Christ himself could not make atonement in any other 
way than by dying. 2. To purify the soul, to refine 
and sublime all the passions and appetites, the operation 
of the Holy Spirit is promised. Spirit only can act 
successfully on spirit ; and this Spirit is called the Holy 
Spirit, not only because it is holy in itself, but because 
it is the Author of holiness to them who receive it. 
Hence, it is represented under the notion of fire, because 
it enlightens, warms, refines, and purifies. It is the 
property of fire either to consume and destroy, or as- 
similate everything to itself with which it is brought 
into contact. It pervades all things, transfuses itself 
through every part, destroys or decomposes whatever 
cannot stand its action, and communicates its own es- 
sential properties to whatever abides its test. Thus the 
Holy Spirit, the Spirit of burning, destroys the pollution 
of the heart, and makes pure and divine all its powers 
and faculties. 

As the first work was called the work of justification 
or pardon, so the second is called the work of sanctifica- 

A DISCOURSE ON GA1. III. 21, 22. 205 

tion or holiness : the one is invariably attributed to the 
blood of Christ ; and the other, generally to the Holy 
Ghost. Without the first of these, the second cannot 
take place ; without the second, the work is imperfect. 
Without the pardon of sin, there can be no redemption 
from eternal punishment ; without the sanctification of 
the soul, there is no meetness for nor entrance into eter- 
nal glory. 

Again, as by diabolical influence the soul is rendered 
guilty and impure, and thus divested of the image of 
God, in which it was created ; it is essential to the honour 
of Jesus Christ and the scheme of redemption, that the 
soul be brought back to the state in which it was cre- 
ated ; that sin and Satan may not only have no triumph, 
but that they may be destroyed and eternally confounded. 
Anything less than this could not have entered into 
the divine purpose ; for as man in the beginning had 
no more holiness and perfection than was suitable to and 
necessary for the nature of his being, and the end for 
which he was formed, so, if he be redeemed at all, and 
saved, he must be brought back into the same state of 
holiness in which he originally stood; without which 
God's design in his creation cannot be fulfilled. Further, 
as the law of God was written upon his heart, but 
became obliterated by sin, it is essentially necessary that 
it be again written on the soul : and as the law, in his 
fallen state, could not be brought down in its purity, 
spirituality, and demands to the sinful and imperfect 
state into which he had fallen, so it was necessary, in 
redemption, to bring the soul up to the law ; and this is 
done by this purifying energy : and thus the redeemed 
of the Lord are enabled to love the Lord their God with 
all their heart, soul, mind, and strength ; " the very 
thoughts of their hearts being cleansed by the inspira- 


tion of the Holy Ghost, so that they are enahled perfectly 
to love him, and worthily to magnify his name." 

IV. As the great promise, fulfilled in the manifesta- 
tion of Christ, is the only means of saving a lost world ; 
so the only means of reaping the benefit of his incarna- 
tion and sacrificial death, is faith ; for this promise, in 
all its benefits, is given, says the apostle, to them that 

From the nature of the thing and from the state of 
the soul it is evident, that salvation cannot be obtained 
by the works of the law ; for we have already seen that 
no law can be given that can give life, and therefore 
" by the works of the law can no man living be jus- 
tified." If, therefore, man is to be saved, his salvation 
must be gratuitous : it is only mercy that can blot out 
his sin ; it is only mercy that can sanctify his soul. And 
as man is an intelligent being, rational and free, there 
must be some act on his part by which this mercy is 
received. That the salvation may be of grace, it is by 
faith ; that man may not even have the pretence of merit, 
he is required only to believe in order to receive it ; that 
is, to credit what God has spoken on this subject ; and 
to be so convinced of the infinite merit of the great 
sacrificial offering, as to trust the total redemption of his 
soul to that merit ; to consider it as a sufficient sacrifice 
and atonement for his sins ; and in this confidence, to 
bring it to God as the grand and sufficient price by which 
that redemption has been effected. Thus God's grace 
provides the sacrifice ; Jesus Christ, in his infinite love 
to man, offers it ; the Holy Spirit stands ready to apply 
and seal it ; and man, by faith, receives it ; the act of 
faith being simply his own — though the power by which 
he believes, comes from God. He can, therefore, from 
the mere act, have no more merit in his own salvation, 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 207 

than the necessitous mendicant has in procuring the 
alms of the charitable man, by stretching out his hand, 
in order to receive them. 

God requires, yea commands, men to believe, and 
threatens them with perdition if they do not ; for he no 
more believes for men, than he repents, loves, or obeys 
for them ; the power he communicates, but the use of 
that power is their own. The Jews, who on the preach- 
ing of Christ crucified did not believe, were reprobated, 
and continue to this day monuments of God's displea- 
sure. The Gentiles, who hardened not their hearts, 
but used the power they had to believe, according to 
the evidence that was set before them, received the sal- 
vation of God, and were elected in the room of the 
unbelieving and disobedient Jews. And to this day, 
the Gospel is the savour of death unto death, or of life 
unto life, according as it is rejected or received by men. 
This is the grand reason why, under the preaching 
of the gospel, some are saved and some not ; for some 
gladly lay hold on the hope that is set before them, 
while others cavil, give way to prejudice, harden their 
hearts, disbelieve, and will not come to Christ that they 
may have life. This, then, is the condemnation of un- 
godly men, that light is come into the world, and they 
choose darkness rather than light, because their deeds 
are evil ; and so the word preached does not profit them, 
because it is not mixed with faith in them that hear it. 
There is hut one remedy, and this they refuse to apply. 

After having shown that the grace of the gospel 
brings a complete salvation to the soul, justifying it from 
all unrighteousness, sanctifying it from all unholiness, it 
will at once be perceived how it communicates and 
maintains that life which the law could not give. The 
believing soul, being now restored to the divine favour 
and image, regains, 1st. A right to live through the 

k 3 


whole of liis probation ; before he was only suffered to 
exist, and was considered a condemned criminal. Now, 
having his sin blotted out, he is no longer liable to death 
on account of transgression, but he has that life which 
the law took away, because forfeited by sin. He is now 
free among the dead, and through the second Adam 
eats of the tree of life, from which the first Adam was 
excluded because of his apostasy. 

2. He lives a spiritual life, for the law of the Spirit of 
life has made him free from the law of sin and death. 
Christ is his life ; and he lives, because Christ dwells in 
his heart by faith ; and the life that he lives is by faith 
in the Son of God. His soul has constantly that union 
with God, in which the essence of spiritual life consists ; 
and this is a life which, if once forfeited, no law can 
give back ; for the law confers no grace, and gives no 
privileges ; it only preserves to the obedient what they 
already possess. 

3. By this change of his circumstances and nature he 
has a right to eternal life; for, being a son, he is an 
heir, an heir of God, and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ. 
Neither could this life be given by the law. In case of 
perfect obedience, it only awarded that eternal life 
which the person must have merited by his exact and 
unfailing fulfilment of all its precepts. 

While, therefore, in every sense, the man died by the 
law, because of his sins, in every sense the believer lives 
by the gospel, because of that sacrificial merit which has 
blotted out his offences, and bestows that Spirit by which 
the heart is purified and made a partaker of the divine 

Being brought into this state of salvation, he loves God 
with all his heart ; every affection, appetite, and desire 
being purified, refined, and fixed on and centred in 
God. He loves him with all his soul ; the whole animal 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 209 

life being occupied with and devoted to his service ; for 
as he lives by God, he lives to and for him. (Such were 
the martyrs ; they counted not their lives dear to them, 
so that they might properly confess and glorify him who 
had brought them out of darkness to his marvellous 
light.) He loves him with all his mind— his understand- 
ing, judgment, and will ; with his spirit — the whole of 
the intellectual principle ; all his rational powers being- 
influenced by the spirit of love, and employed in ren- 
dering a reasonable service to his God. And he loves 
him with all his strength ; all his animal, rational, and 
intellectual energies being combined in his acts of devo- 
tion and acts of obedience. As he thus loves God, he 
also loves his neighbour as himself. " Love worketh no 
ill to his neighbour, therefore love is the fulfilling of the 
law:" he lives to God's glory, by receiving good from 
him to do good to men. By the finger of God the 
moral law is written on his heart, and by incessant acts 
of loving obedience it is transcribed in his life. 

But who is sufficient for these things ? He in whose 
heart Jesus lives and rules, and whose blood has cleansed 
him from all unrighteousness. He who wills in God's 
will, lives in his life, is strong in his strength; who 
walks by faith, and not by sight — who is crucified to the 
world, and the world to him — whose feet are fixed on 
the Rock of Ages — and who can do all things through 
Christ, who strengthens him. Reader, all things are 
possible to him that believeth. 


And now, reader, what sayest thou to these things ? 
Art thou alive under the gospel, or dead under the law ? 
A dead man knows not the state he is in : he has eyes, 
but he sees not; ears, but he hears not; a heart, but it 


feels not. His senses are locked up, and lie is neither 
terrified at the approach of danger, nor gladdened at 
the prospect of honour, wealth, or power. 

The living man knows he is alive ; his eyes see, his 
ears hear, his heart feels. He can apprehend danger, 
and provide for his escape. He sees prosperity, and 
gladdens at its approach. As it fares with the naturally 
dead and living, so with him who is dead in trespasses 
and sins, and with him who is alive to God by faith in 
Christ. He who is under the death that the law has 
denounced against the workers of iniquity knows not 
his state, and is not sensible of his danger. He sees 
not that he is under the curse ; he considers not that 
the wrath of God is revealed against all unrighteousness 
and ungodliness of men; he knows not that the dis- 
pleasure of God abideth on him ; he trembles not, though 
Tophet from beneath is moved to meet him at his 
coming ; he walks on frowardly in the hardness of his 
heart ; he fears no danger ; he is under no alarms ; and 
the glad tidings of salvation gladden not his heart. O 
how awful and dangerous is this state ! 

On the other band, the man who is alive to God 
knows it, because he feels this divine life. His eyes by 
faith see the King in his beauty, and the land that is 
afar off. He knows that he is of God, by the Spirit 
which God bath given him ; he hears the voice of the 
Son of God, and lives ; he feels the powers of the world 
to come, and tastes the good word of God. how 
glorious is tins state ! He knows he is standing on the 
brink of eternity ; but, redeemed from the fear of death, 
he rejoices in hope of the glory of God. 

Sinner, this is not thy case ; thou art still in the gall 
of bitterness and bond of iniquity. And canst thou, 
with this fearful looking for of fiery indignation, sport 
and play, laugh, jest, sing, and be merry ! terrible 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 211 

delusion, and fearful state ! " Awake, thou that sleepest, 
and arise from the dead, and Christ will give thee light." 
Is not God even now quickening thee? Breathe, O 
divine Spirit,' on these slain, that they may live, and let 
thy breath come unto them ! 

Dost thou not begin to feel the necessity of caring for 
thy soul ? To-day, then, while it is called to-day, arise 
and shake thyself from the dust, and call upon thy God. 
Jesus hath died for thee, to redeem thee from the curse 
of the law, to blot out thine iniquities, to sanctify thy 
soul, and save thee unto eternal life ! Now, turn unto 
him with all thy heart — humble thyself under the 
mighty hand of God — take refuge in the infinitely meri- 
torious death of the crucified Jesus — and thou shalt not 
perish, but have everlasting life ! Implore him to grant 
thee that spiritual regeneration, without which thou 
canst not see the kingdom of God. 

But perhaps some one is ready to say, I have Abraham 
for my father; I have got that regeneration; I have 
been baptized by the proper authority, in the name of 
the holy and ever-blessed Trinity, and am therefore a 
member of Christ, a child of God, and an heir of the 
kingdom of heaven. 

Stop ! If thou be a member of Christ, thou hast the 
same spirit in thee that is in the living Head. If a 
child of God, thou art holy ; for holiness is the divine 
nature ; and every child partakes of the nature of his 
father. If an heir of the kingdom of heaven, then thou 
must be a son ; for if a son, then an heir — an lieir of God, 
and joint-heir with Christ. And if a son and heir, then, 
because thou art a son, he hath sent forth the Spirit of his 
Son into thy heart, crying, Abba, Father ! Gal. iv. 6, 7 
Hast thou these evidences of thy regeneration ? If thou 
have not, and art still trusting to what was only an out- 
ward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, 


viz., a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteous- 
ness, thou art in a mortal deception, and thy teacher is 
the blind that leadeth the blind ; and if God's mercy in- 
terpose not, thou and he shall soon fall into the ditch of 
remediless perdition? If even that doctrine were true 
(whereas it is both absurd and antichristian), thy baptism 
can avail thee nothing, if thou have fallen into sin, and 
wickedly departed from God, since it was administered 
unto thee ; — if thou have not regularly through life 
" renounced the devil and all his works, the pomps and 
vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of 
the flesh ;" if thou have not " kept God's holy will and 
commandments," and walked unblamably in the same, 
thou hast renounced thy baptism; thy circumcision is 
now uncircumcision ; and, as a sinner, thou art a member 
of the mystical body of Satan, a child of wrath, and an 
heir of perdition. Strange, that those who have taught 
thee that water-baptism is all that is implied in spiritual 
regeneration — or that, when baptized with water, thou 
wert then spiritually regenerated — had not warned thee 
that, if ever thou didst renounce thy baptism, by taking 
the yoke of Satan on thee instead of the yoke of Christ, 
thou shouldst immediately apply to him that taught thee 
this absurd and dangerous doctrine, that he might ad- 
minister a second baptism, and continue to repeat it as 
frequently as thou hast relapsed into sin ! The latter 
teaching would not have been less absurd than the 
former. Trust in nothing of this kind ; it is the blood 
of Jesus alone, that cleanseth from all sin. This alone 
will be to thee the laver of regeneration, and will bring 
with it the renewing power of the Holy Ghost ; and 
thus, when born of water and the Holy Spirit, thou 
mayest enter into the kingdom of God. let nothing 
divert thy attention from the absolute necessity of this 
most important change ! Without the application of the 

A DISCOURSE ON GAL. III. 21, 22. 213 

atoning blood, even the baptism instituted by Christ will 
profit thee nothing : it will be only as that law that can- 
not give life ; and verily righteousness cometh not by 
that law. Trust to nothing that has passed merely upon 
thee ; look for the remission of sins, and the renewing 
of thy soul in righteousness and true holiness, after the 
image of Him who created thee. Death is fast ad- 
vancing upon thee, and the Judge is at the door. — But 
Jesus is nearer : hear his voice ! " Come unto me, all ye 
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest. Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven thee." 
Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen. 



James iii. 17. 

" But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, 
gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, 
without partiality, without hypocrisy." 

The preaching of the gospel does not necessarily 
imply that we should in every sermon dwell on the fun- 
damental articles of the Christian faith. Where a people 
are known to have a right creed and a thorough gos- 
pel ministry, these are necessarily supposed in every 

1. Our coming together in a religious assembly neces- 
sarily supposes that we believe there is a God — " for he 
that cometh unto God must believe that he is." This, 
therefore, need not be a constant subject in proof. 

2. Our making prayer and supplication before him 
necessarily supposes that we believe he hears prayer, and 
concerns himself with the interests of his creatures, and 
must imply our belief that he is a rewarder of them who 
diligently seek him. 

3. Our offering praise and thanksgiving necessarily 
supposes that we believe in his moral government of the 
world; that he is the author and dispenser of every 
good ; that all our good has been derived from him ; that 
we deserve nothing at his hand, and having received 
much, should be thankful. 


4. Our confession of sin and deprecation of God's wrath 
necessarily supposes that we acknowledge we are sin- 
ners, are exposed to bis judgment, and in danger of end- 
less punishment ; and that he alone can save us from 

5. Our praying in the name, and imploring mercy for 
the sake of Jesus Christ, necessarily supposes that we be- 
lieve him to be the only Saviour of sinners; that we 
seek redemption in his blood, and have no confidence in 
any merit of ourselves or others. 

6. Our praying for grace to enable us to stand, work, 
and be faithful, necessarily supposes that we are per- 
suaded of our own utter insufficiency to do any good 
without divine assistance, and that we are constantly 
dependant upon God. Therefore these articles, for the 
reasons above alleged, need not be brought into continual 

This foundation is therefore always supposed to be 
laid — all our preaching is in reference to it, and is built 
on it ; but there are principles which are derived from 
these doctrines (as necessary in their place as these doc- 
trines themselves) which should never be forgotten, yet 
are seldom kept sufficiently in view : thus we are always 
laying the foundation, but advance not the superstruc- 
ture — always learning, but seldom coming to the full 
knowledge of the truth. I shall therefore have recourse 
to some of those principles, fairly deducible from the 
text, in order to explain ' what effects the religion of 
Christ should produce in our souls, for our personal salva- 
tion : and in our lives, for the conviction and edification 
of others. 

Religion, properly speaking, is a species of commerce 
carried on between God and the soul: it supposes his 
continual agency and operation, as well as the soul's 


agency with him. The work of holiness is a divine work, 
and can only be produced and carried on by the Divine 
Spirit ; and it is from this that the soul has its light and 

It is impossible for God, who is a spirit, to be inactive. 
Matter is necessarily inactive and motionless till moved ; 
and without this, must be always inert. Spirit is ever 
active; and it requires as much of the activity and 
energy of God to maintain the works that he has made, 
as it required to produce them. " My father worketh 
hitherto, and I work." God is still working to preserve 
what he originally worked to produce. As he is the 
fountain of light and power — without him we can nei- 
ther know nor do anything. To be well instructed in 
this point is of the greatest consequence ; for if we err 
here, we shall be right nowhere. We shall neither un- 
derstand what is true, nor practise what is just. As 
none but he can diffuse the necessary knowledge, so 
none but himself can supply the requisite power. The 
true light must shine out by means of the gospel, and 
be reflected on our souls from the face of Jesus Christ. 

Religion — that teaches these things — that points out 
God to man — that shows him his ignorance, darkness, 
sinfulness, guilt, and weakness — is termed here by St. 
James, wisdom ; and to designate its nature, " The wis- 
dom that cometh from above." There are various other 
names by which it has pleased God to point out to the 
eye and attention of man the same glorious, principle : 
The law ; the law of liberty — The gospel ; and, to show 
its nature, the gospel of God, the gospel of our salva- 
tion — Life ; the word of life — The kingdom of God ; 
the kingdom of heaven — Truth — Faith — The way of 
God, &c. These cannot be separately considered in this 
place, as each would require a distinct discourse for its 


elucidation, and therefore we must confine ourselves to 
the term Wisdom, used by the apostle in the text, which 
I shall— 

I. Analyse and explain ; and II. Show its fruits and 

I. Wisdom. — I have sometimes found it necessary, in 
explaining portions of Scripture, to quote and analyse 
the original words, whether Hebrew or Greek, from 
which they were taken ; and this has often given us an 
extension and force of meaning, which we could not have 
otherwise acquired. Though this might be done profit- 
ably in the present case, by a consideration of the gram- 
matical meaning and general use of the word So</ua, em- 
ployed by St. James ; it will serve more for the purpose 
of general instruction, to analyse and explain the term 
Wisdom, one of the relicts of our ancient maternal lan- 

pirbom is compounded of pire, from pitan, to know or 
understand, and -som, or "come, judgment, sanction, de- 
cree, and sometimes power, which itself comes from 
t>eman, to judge, to deem, to have power to determine ; 
from pitan, to know, comes our term wit, which originally 
signified the same as wisdom, expressing both ingenuity 
and knowledge. A shade of its meaning is preserved in 
our illative particle, to wit — to know; or, in order to 
know or understand, hear farther ; read on. This 
meaning we sometimes express by the contraction, viz. 
videsis, you may see ; or vide licet, you are permitted to 
see farther. But wit now signifies facetiousness, repar- 
tee, or the giving a curious or pleasant turn to an ex- 
pression or action, so as to excite mirth, &c. But the 
word was originally used to express the whole intellect 
or powers of the mind, with all the knowledge they 
had acquired by cultivation, learning, experience, &c. 

The termination bom, among our Anglo-Saxon ances- 


tors, was added to nouns to show their state, condition, 
quality, or property : as free-dom, the state of liberty ; 
whore-dom, the condition or state of prostitution ; king- 
dom, the state, place, dominion, or condition of a king ; 
Christen-dom, the condition or state of Christianity un- 
der particular governments ; wis-dom, the state or domi- 
nion of knowledge, or understanding, or the place or 
condition of the raise man. 

If we take the term in its common acceptation, it sig- 
nifies the power of judging rightly — the knowledge of 
divine and human things, and a judicious eonduct as the 

The term wisdom is used also to signify dexterity, 
cunning, skill, to over-reach, to get gain, to outwit, as we 
sometimes express it, the ignorant and simple. Thus 
our Lord : " The children of this world are wiser (more 
subtle, crafty, dexterous) in their generation, than the 
children of light." This is the wisdom of which St. James 
speaks in the context, ver. 15, which is earthly, sensual, 
devilish : it is from beneath ; it causes the man to seek 
his happiness in earthly things, through the medium of 
animal passions, and is totally under the direction and 
influence of the devil. It is the state of the diabolical 
regimen in the soul of a sinner : it teaches him to 
find out and invent the most prompt and effectual me- 
thods of serving his master, ruining himself, and hurting 

But the wisdom which the apostle recommends is 
from above ; it comes immediately from God ; it is what 
God has taught man by his word, and what he impresses 
on the understanding and heart of man by his Spirit. 
As God is the only wise God ; so all wisdom must come 
from him. He has not created a stock of innate know- 
ledge in man, but he has given him a capacity to know ; 
and in that capacity he works by his all-enlightening 


Spirit ; and gives, for subjects of knowledge and princi- 
ples of conduct, his own revelation — the Bible — a book 
af the most consummate learning and wisdom that can 
be conceived. 

It is highly worthy of remark, that the utmost inge- 
nuity of man has not been able to add a single principle 
to the system of divine truth laid down in the Bible ; 
nor to discover one attribute of God beyond those laid 
down in the Old and New Testaments. Nor have they 
found out anything new relative to the human soul, 
though they have written various essays both on the na- 
ture of God, and the nature of man ; there is not one 
new discovery relative to God and spirits in their writ- 
ings, nor a single article in morals, but what existed in 
the Bible, and what they borrowed from it. 

This is a most important matter, and what should be 
carefully considered by all ; that all the art, ingenuity, 
learning, and wisdom of man, howsoever employed and 
exerted through all the generations of his being, have 
not been able to add a previously unknown attribute to- 
the Divine nature — a single article to the system of 
morals — nor to discover one property of the spirit or 
soul of man, besides those taught by that wisdom that is 
from above. 

This wisdom — teaching a man the knowledge of him- 
self and of his Maker ; leading him to the Fountain of 
light, life, might, mercy, and purity, for instruction, life, 
power, pardon, and holiness, which it freely imparts 
when earnestly requested — makes him a new creature; 
so that all his former counsels, designs, and practices are 
passed away ; and all things in his heart, his life, and 
conversation, are become new. Hence the wisdom that 
comes from above is another name for religion : it is 
the kingdom of heaven within, and the life of God in 
the soul. 


II. This divine wisdom is an active principle, and 
shows its nature and origin by the effects it produces, or 
the fruits which it bears. 

Of these the apostle lays down several ; and though 
not all, yet enough to show the nature and heavenly origin 
of the principle whence they are derived. Those that 
he does mention are essential, and can never be absent 
from the heart and life of the man, where the principle 
is in operation. I shall consider these in order. 

1. The wisdom from above is — first, pure: ayvt\, the 
original word, means such a purity as is implied in chas- 
tity of thought, word, and deed ; and is opposed to all 
inward and outward pollution. 

It is worthy of remark, that the very first dawn of the 
light of God in the soul of man, discovers and renders 
horrible to the view all moral defilement, and gives the 
soul an insatiable thirst after holiness ; and this desire is 
often so intense, even in penitents, that they are led to 
seek sanctification before justification. For as this wis- 
dom comes from God, it shows his nature. It shows 
that image in which the soul was created, and which it 
lost by the fall, and which it is to regain by Christ Jesus. 
This image of God, or purity of heart, contains in itself 
a summary of the whole work of God in the soul of 
man. Holiness is all that the soul needs to receive in 
order to its happiness ; and the attainment of it is what 
is required by the spirit and design of all the command- 
ments of God — " Be ye holy, for I am holy" (Lev. xi. 
44; 1 Pet. i. 15, 16), is the uniform language of the 
law, and the authoritative command of the gospel. 

But as holiness is produced in the soul by the Holy 
Spirit, and that Spirit is not an inmate of the heart till 
the soul is justified ; hence justification, or the pardon of 
sin, must precede sanctification ; the conscience must be 
purged or purified from guilt, from all guilt ; and from 


all guilt at once : for in no part of the Scripture are we 
directed to seek remission of sins seriatim ; one now, 
another then, and so on. Neither in any part are we 
directed to seek holiness gradatim. We are to come to 
God for an instantaneous and complete purification from 
all sin, as well as for an instantaneous pardon. Neither 
the seriatim pardon, nor the gradatim purification exists 
in the Bible. It is when the soul is purified from all sin, 
that it can properly grow in grace, and in the knowledge 
of our Lord Jesus Christ : as the field may be expected 
to produce a good crop, and all the seed vegetate, when 
the thorns, thistles, briers, and noxious weeds of every 
kind, are grubbed out of it. 

2. Peaceable, uprjviKri, signifies living in peace, having 
a good and comfortable understanding with God, with 
our own conscience, and with our neighbour. Enmity 
to God and holiness is destroyed — self-contradiction, 
self-reproach, and a guilty conscience, are at an end ; — . 
harmony and order are restored within, and prevail with- 
out. Did this heavenly religion prevail in the world, 
there wou:d be no private quarrels, animosities, strifes, 
contentions, bloodshed, murder, nor wars in the world. 

3. Gentle, nruncrig, implies meek, modest, of an equal 
mind, the opposite to anger, irritability of temper. Not 
offending others, and receiving no offences itself. A 
mind always in even balance. 

4. Easy to be entreated. Expressed in one word, 
tvm&riQ, easily persuaded to do anything that is right, 
just, holy, and proper in itself, or Avhat may be profit- 
able to others. A mind always open to conviction ; 
ready to receive light, and to act by it. The opposite to 
stubbornness, obstinacy, untractableness, morosity, and 

5. Full of mercy. The apostle felt that he could not 
go through all the attributes of such a character, and he 


begins to sum them up. The man is full of. mercy : he 
owes all to God's mercy ; the divine mercy has begotten 
in him its own similitude, and filled him with its own 
disposition. He is ever ready to pardon a transgression, 
and to show kindness and compassion to men. His 
heart is full of benevolence, and his life of beneficence. 
He lives to act towards others as God has acted towards 

6. And being full of mercy, he is full of good fruits. 
Every grace of God in his soul is a heavenly seed, bear- 
ing fruit suited to and descriptive of its nature. His 
hand, heart, tongue, hands, and feet, are all full of pur- 
poses and acts of beneficence. The fruits are as various 
as they are numerous. Every fruit has its tree, every 
tree its peculiar seed, and every seed the same origin — 
GOD; and all grow and thrive under the continual 
light and heat of the Sun of righteousness. 

7. Without partiality, adiaKpiro? this word means, 
without making a difference — rendering to every man his 
due; never swayed by self-interest, worldly honour, or 
the fear of man. Diffusing the fruits of his mercy 
through all mankind ; being as liberal and as compassion- 
ate to his enemy, as to his former benefactor, when he 
finds them in equal destitution or distress. The differ- 
ence of religion, country, kindred, makes no difference 
with him. 

8. Without hypocrisy, awxoKpirog, not acting under a 
borrowed character, acting no feigned part ; being sincere 
in all that he professes, and in all that he does, without 
pretence or simulation — doing nothing to be seen or 
applauded of men. Having no cloak, never pretending 
to be what he is not, but ever acting in his own cha- 
racter ; in a word, a man without a mask, seeking nothing 
but God's glory, and using no other means to attain this 
end than those prescribed by God himself. This is the 


man who has the wisdom that comes from above, who 
knows what is right, judges what is fit, and does what 
is good. He lives in the state, condition, and power of 
knowledge, as the king does in his kingdom. His state 
is wisdom. He knows the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ whom he hath sent; and in this knowledge he 
has the commencement and anticipation of LIFE 

We may now see the reasonableness of what has 
already been hinted, that we must have the life of Christ 
in our souls, for our personal salvation ; and must show 
forth its fruits in our lives, for the conviction and edifi- 
cation of others. How can an irreligious man know 
anything of the nature of true religion, but as he may 
see it exemplified in the conduct of others ? The con- 
version of sinners, under the preaching of the gospel, is 
a standing proof of the truth of Christianity, as it is of 
the efficacy of the doctrine it teaches. Here is a noto- 
rious drunkard, who has been suddenly reclaimed, and 
relapses not again ; he has been known indeed to have 
lately ,been pensive and sorrowful, to have read the word 
of God, and been diligent in the means of grace ; but he 
is suddenly become cheerful and happy ; he is no longer 
overcome of evil ; he has power over all his old sins, 
and is an example of godly living to all that are round 
about him. 

If he be questioned on the change that has taken 
place, he is at no loss to give a reason of the hope that 
is in him, and the means by which he was made a partaker 
of that hope. Others, observing and hearing these things, 
are prompted, first by curiosity, to use the same means, 
or to hear the same doctrine zealously preached by some 
remarkable man ; and the consequence is, they also are 
convinced of sin, led to God through Christ for salvation ; 
and thus the kingdom of Christ becomes extended and 

VOL. I. L 


established in the earth. If we had no conversions, we 
should be without those evidences of the divinity of our 
religion which are within the reach of the common 
people, and by which alone they can be affected and con- 
vinced. It is as vain to boast of an excellent fruit-tree 
which a man has in his garden, and which never pro- 
duces any fruit, as it is to profess our belief in Chris- 
tianity, and profess ourselves the disciples of Christ, 
while we bring not forth the fruits of the Spirit. If re- 
ligion do not make us honest, it does nothing for us in 
reference to this world ; and if it do not save us from 
bad tempers, it has done nothing for us in reference to 
the world to come. A dishonest man is no Christian ; 
an ill-tempered man is no disciple of Christ. Every- 
thing contrary to meekness, gentleness, and long-suffer- 
ing, is of that wisdom that is from beneath. It is earthly, 
animal, devilish; it is the work of the subtle serpent; 
it came from hell, and goeth into perdition. Let him 
that heareth understand. 



Philxppians iv. 4. 

Xaip£r£ iv Kupiy -Kavrore ■kcCKiv tpw, %aip£r£. 

" Rejoice in the Lord alway ; and again T say, Rejoice." 

It is generally supposed that the church at Philippi, 
to which this epistle is directed, was founded about the 
year of our Lord 53, and that the epistle itself was sent 
to them about ten years after. From the time of their 
conversion to Christianity, they were a steady people, and 
although disturbed by false teachers, yet continued firm 
in the faith. They were more attached to the apostle 
than any of the other churches ; testified their affection 
by sending him supplies, even when he was labouring for 
the welfare of others ; and they seem to have been the 
only church that did so. See chap. iv. 15, 16. 

That the apostle was pleased with them is sufficiently 
evident from the epistle, which is written in a very pleas- 
ing and easy style, everywhere bearing evidence of that 
happy state of mind in which he then was, and of his 
great affection for the people in that place. 

Being truly happy himself, he endeavours to promote 
the happiness of others; being satisfied that to rejoice 
evermore, to pray without ceasing, and in everything to 
give thanks, was the will of God in Christ Jesus, con- 
cerning all believers. 

l 2 


The epistle consists of doctrines and exhortations ; 
and though all coming from the same Spirit, and tending 
to the same end, it is well to distinguish between them. 

God, who has spoken to men at sundry times, has also 
spoken to them in a variety of manners, by all his in- 
spired servants, both under the Old and under the New 

The addresses of prophets, evangelists, and apostles, to 
men, relative to their salvation, are either in doctrines, 
or in advices and exhortations founded on those doc- 

We ought to distinguish between doctrines and ex- 
hortations, as we do between theory and practice, or be- 
tween the principles of a science and the operations of 
those principles. 

Doctrine simply signifies teaching of any kind. What- 
ever can be taught to man, and whatever man can learn. 

A divine doctrine is what man learns concerning his 
own salvation, and is either, 1. Founded on the perfec- 
tions of God ; or 2. Drawn from the declarations of 
God ; or 3. Inferred from the operations of God. 

Nothing can properly be denominated a divine doc- 
trine that has not its origin in one or other of these. 

1st. It must be drawn from the infinite perfections of 
God, and agree with all those perfections ; or, 

2ndly. It must be deduced from the revelation of God, 
and agree with all parts of that revelation ; or, 

3rdly. It must be inferred from the operations of God 
in his works of creation and providence, in his govern- 
ment of the world and of the church ; and, 

4thly. From whichever of these sources a doctrine pro- 
fesses to be derived, it must not only be fairly and indis- 
putably deduced from that source, but it must agree 
with all the others; e. g., 1. A doctrine professedly de- 
rived from the nature of God must not only agree with 


all the perfections of that nature, but also with the reve- 
lation of God, and his conduct in governing the world 
and the church. 2. Again : a doctrine professedly drawn 
from divine revelation must not only agree with that 
revelation in all its parts, soberly understood, without 
figure, metaphor, or type, but must also agree with the 
operations of God, and the perfections of his nature. And 
lastly, a doctrine professedly derived from the conduct of 
God in governing the world, and managing the affairs of 
the church, must agree, without constraint or interference, 
positively and directly, with divine revelation, and the 
perfections of the divine nature. Doctrines not thus de- 
rived, and not thus agreeing with these essential princi- 
ples, should not, in matters which concern the salvation 
of the soul, and the eternal interests of man, be received 
as doctrines of God. They are either, 1. Doctrines of 
men ; or, 2. Doctrines of devils ; or, 3. Precarious assump- 
tions, on which no confidence should be placed, and to 
which no credit should be given. 

The advices and exhortations of inspired men are 
always founded on such doctrines as above mentioned ; 
and, properly speaking, such advices are the uses that 
should be made of such doctrines. If God will, teach, 
and exemplify by his conduct, that such are his designs 
in reference to the sons of men; then their duty is, 1st, 
To believe what he has thus discovered ; 2ndly, To vene- 
rate and love him for that discovery, because it has for 
its object their present and eternal happiness ; 3rdly, To 
use whatever means may lead to the accomplishment of 
this end ; and 4thly, To be obedient to his will in all 
things, as he himself has promised them a sufficiency of 
power to enable them thus to obey. 

In this verse and the context, the apostle does not 
speak to the Philippians by doctrines, but by advice and 
exhortation founded on doctrines already delivered. 


Knowing the infinite benevolence of the divine nature, 
and contemplating that astonishing manifestation of it in 
the incarnation of Christ (" who took upon him the form 
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man ; and 
being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself unto 
death, even unto the death of the cross," chap. ii. 6 — 8), 
he might have at once inferred, that the design of God was 
to make his intelligent creatures happy ; but he had more 
than inference and deduction for his opinion ; for now, 
writing under the immediate inspiration of God, he sees 
it plainly, and announces it strongly, from the direct im- 
pulse of the Divine Spirit, in the words of the text, say- 
ing, " Rejoice in the Lord always ; and again I say, Re- 

As I conceive that the text speaks of human happiness, 
and by exhorting to its acquisition, shows the possibility 
of its attainment, I judge it necessary to inquire a little 
into the subject — define the term — show the general 
opinion that has been formed of it — and ascertain the 
sense in which I conceive it to be intended here. 

I. When the apostle exhorts the Philippians to rejoice, 
I conceive that the term implies the same as, Be happy; 
and as he exhorts them to rejoice always, then he must 
mean, Be constantly happy ; and to be constantly happy, 
is to have happiness, or to be in the state of happiness. 
Reasons for this will be given in other parts of the dis- 

Our term happiness, it is most likely, comes from hap? 
which is usually defined, chance, fortune, or that which 
occurs fortuitously, or without design. This term is 
equally applicable to good or ill, and other words are 
often joined to it in order to indicate the sense in which 
it is taken. Mis-hap is evil accident or fortune, and 
good-Imp signifies a fortunate event, good luck, or favour- 
able occurrence. But out of this term, the adjective 


happy, and the noun happiness are made ; happy and hap- 
piness are taken exclusively in a good sense, and require 
no other terms to qualify their meaning. Happy applies 
to state, place, person, thing ; and happiness to the state 
of being happy. 

II. We have many foolish, and some good definitions 
of the term or thing called happiness ; among the latter is 
the following : " That state in which the desires are satis- 
fied;" or, according to Hooker, "Happiness is that estate 
whereby we attain the full possession of that which sim- 
ply for itself is to be desired ; and containeth in it, after 
an eminent sort, the contentation of all our desires — the 
highest degree of all our perfection." Others define it, 
" The durable possession of good, without any mixture of 
evil; or the enjoyment of pure pleasure, unalloyed with 
pain ; or a state in which all the wishes are satisfied ;* 
in which senses, say they, happiness is known only by 
name upon the earth. 

Mr. Locke observes, "The various and contradictory 
choices that men make in the world argue that the same 
thing is not good to every man alike ; this variety of pur- 
suits shows that every one does not place his happiness in 
the same thing." 

Others assert that " the word happy, when applied 
to any state or condition of human life, will admit of no 
positive definition, but is merely a relative term ; that is, 
when we call a man happy, we only mean that he is 
happier than some others with whom we compare him, 
or than he himself was in some other situation." 

Mr. Archdeacon Paley says, " In strictness, any con- 
dition may be denominated happy, in which the aggre- 
gate of pleasure exceeds that of pain ; and the degree of 
happiness depends on the quantity of this excess." 

In discussing this subject in his Principles of P/iilo- 


sophy, he endeavours to show in what happiness does 
not, and what it does, consist. 

" 1. It consists not in the pleasures of sense, in what- 
ever profusion or variety they may be enjoyed. 

" 2. It does not consist in any exemption from pain, 
labour, care, suspense, molestation, &c. 

" 3. It does not consist in greatness, rank, or elevated 

"But, 1. It does consist in the exercise of the social 

" 2. In the exercise of our mental and corporeal facul- 
ties in the pursuit of some engaging end. 

"3. In settling the habits in such a manner, that 
every change may be a change for the better. 

"4. It consists in health, freedom from bodily dis- 
tempers, and tranquillity, firmness, and alacrity of mind, 
or good spirits." 

In all these definitions, and they are the best I have 
been able to select, there is not one word of happiness 
in reference to the soul of man, — not one word of happi- 
ness in or from God ! Nay, the soul appears to be en- 
tirely out of the question ; and, as to regaining the 
image or enjoying the approbation of God, these make 
no part of the inquiry ! The animal man, and the ani- 
mal mind, are the alone subjects of consideration : and 
the great question is, What happiness may man, merely 
considered in reference to this world and to his animal 
nature, possess in this life ? 

III. It is not in this light I take up the subject : my 
inquiry relates to a man as possessing an immortal spirit, 
standing in a relation to God as his Creator, Governor, 
and Judge, and as a candidate for eternal glory. 

If the present state be only the threshold of being, — if 
it be a state of probation, — if man, in the estimate of 


reason and religion, should be guided by wisdom, and 
true wisdom is that which directs to the best end by the 
use of the most proper means ; then, that must be the 
best end of man that has in view his true blessedness in 
this life, and his eternal glorification in the world to 
come. " What shall we eat, what shall we drink, and 
with what shall we be clothed ? " — in a word, how shall 
we acquire animal gratification ? are inquiries with which 
the Gentiles may be endlessly exercised; but he who 
has the revelation of God should have higher objects of 
pursuit, and such as become an immortal spirit. 

This is the subject on which St. Paul addresses the 
Christians at Philippi, and, through them, all, in every 
place, who profess the Christian name. He speaks to 
them of spiritual happiness, exhorts to its acquisition, 
and shows in what it consists. 

I shall, therefore, give a definition of what I conceive 
true happiness to be ; copying in the main, the words of 
a preceding definition : — " It is that state of mind in 
which the desires are all satisfied, by the full possession 
of that which, for its own sake, is to be desired above 
all things, as containing in itself everything that is suited 
to the nature, capacity, and wishes of an immortal spirit; 
with the rational conviction that this state may be per- 
manent :" and this, without circumlocution, I state to be, 
the approbation of God in the conscience, and the image 
of God in the heart. Where these are, there must be 
happiness ; where these are permanent, there must be 
permanent happiness. The actual existence of these 
things, or the possibility of their attainment, I consider 
to be directly implied in the exhortation of the apostle, 
"Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." 
He who can rejoice, is so far happy : but no man can 
rejoice, even in the slightest degree, but from a consci- 
ousness of happiness at the time ; and happiness implies 



perfect satisfaction or contentment of mind, from a gra- 
tification of its wishes and desires. And this necessarily 
implies these two things : — 1. Actual possession of that 
which gratifies or contents ; and, 2. Comfortable persua- 
sion that the possession shall be continued. For, 1. If 
a man possess not that which his soul has earnestly de- 
sired, and without which he could not be comfortable, he 
cannot have rejoicing in himself; and, 2. If he have not 
a well-grounded hope, and full persuasion that this pos- 
session, and his consequent happiness, may be continued, 
— that none can deprive him of it, and that it cannot be 
lost but through his own fault, — he cannot rejoice. 
Hence, therefore, it is evident, that the thing that con- 
stitutes happiness must be so far in possession, as to leave 
no craving desire ungratified; and must be so sure in 
prospect, in reference to its future continuance, as to 
leave no anxious apprehension of unavoidable privation. 

IV When therefore the apostle exhorts the believers 
at Philippi to rejoice, he means Be happy — happy in 
the present gratification and contentment of your ardent 
heavenly wishes, and in prospect of its future continu- 
ance. When he says, Rejoice always, he means, Be 
always happy — ye need never be wretched, ye need 
never be miserable : and when he adds, Again I say, Re- 
joice ! he shows the possibility of the case, the attain- 
ableness of such a state, and that God, by positive in- 
junction, makes that their bounden duty, which is their 
sovereign felicity. 

Here is the possibility of human happiness asserted by 
divine authority, and consequently the attainableness of 
it proved. But these great questions will naturally arise : 
In what does this happiness consist ? And, by what 
means is it to be acquired ? 

Even the divine assertion, that we may be happy, and 
that we should be happy, and always happy, does not 


answer these questions ; but the qualification in the text 
mefets the first, Rejoice in the Lord: from which we 
learn that it is the Lord, the God who made it, who con- 
stitutes the happiness of the human soul ; for he alone 
can content its desires. 

Every human being desires happiness ; every intelli- 
gent spirit hates misery. God has made the soul capa- 
ble of happiness, and having endowed it with a capacity 
for happiness, designing that it should be happy, lie 
says in the test, Rejoice always ! — be uninterruptedly 
happy in your God. 

But it may be objected, How can God will the happi- 
ness of man, when he has brought him into such a state 
of existence that he is encompassed with unavoidable 
evils ? I grant that the world is full of evil and misery ; 
and if I could believe that these were the result of divine 
counsels, and divine operations, I must also say, vain is 
the command to be happy, when by such evils the cup 
of blessedness is dashed from the lips of mortals, as fre- 
quently as they attempt to taste it : but I deny that 
God is the author of what is strictly styled evil. 

Evil is that which necessarily entails misery, and is 
opposed to good and happiness. Evil stands in opposi- 
tion to the Divine Nature, — to its infinite perfections and 
eternal beatitude. 

V Evil is properly distinguished into two kinds, na- 
tural AND MORAL. 

1. Natural evil implies some derangement in the 
operations of nature, by which they are totally hindered 
or opposed, or thwarted, so that regular eifects are not 
produced ; violence and disorder taking the place of uni- 
formity and design : and thus eifects, contrary to the 
original ordination of a wise and intelligent mind, are 
produced. It is, in a word, whatever destroys, or in any 
way disturbs, the perfection of natural beings , or pro- 


duces mischief, prejudice, or damage. This supposes 
two things, 1. The evil cause which produces this dis- 
turbance, prejudice, and damage ; and 2. The evil effects 
produced by this cause. Earthquakes are most probably 
produced by electricity : the inordinate quantity and dis- 
orderly action of the electric matter is the cause ; the 
convulsions of the earth, the consequence. So an ob- 
struction of the nervous fluid may be the cause of para- 
lysis; and a peccant humour, the cause of blindness. 
The obstruction, therefore, is the cause of the paralysis ; 
blindness, the effect of the peccant humour. 

God is not the author of death, neither hath "he 
pleasure in the destruction of the living." Hence, in the 
class of natural evils, we must rank everything that im- 
pairs the human constitution, produced by the present 
operations of nature, inducing morbid activity, or mor- 
bid debility in the nervous or muscular system ; and 
consequent sickness, infirmity, diseases, and deaths. 
Among these also may be classed violent alterations 
and commotions in the earth ; such as earthquakes, vol- 
canoes, and all such causes us produce vegetable sterility. 
Also, all violent alterations in the structure and state of the 
atmosphere. Pestilences, plagues, endemic and epidemic 
diseases ; lightnings, tempests, tornadoes, pestiferous alter- 
ations in the atmosphere, from a deficiency or super- 
abundance of any of its component principles ; too much 
rain in one case, producing injury to seeds and plants ; 
or sweeping away men, cattle, property, and the vegeta- 
ble surface, by floods or inundations : on the other hand, 
too little rain, so that the earth is exhausted of its radi- 
cal moisture j and plants and seeds are entirely parched 
up. Sudden deaths, maiming, and heavy losses, ulti- 
mately terminating in the beggary and destruction of the 
sufferers, may also enter into the catalogue of natural 


2. Moral evil is usually defined, " The disagreement 
between the actions of a moral agent, and the rule of 
those actions." It consists properly of two parts : 1 . 
The evil principle in moral agents, which induces them 
to depart from truth, purity, and goodness ; and 2. The 
disagreement between the actions of a moral agent, and 
the rule of those actions. The first implies an evil na- 
ture in moral agents; the second, transgression, or the 
breach of the moral law, or rule of morality. 

Moral evil is that which is opposed to the wisdom, 
holiness, goodness, and perfections of God ; to the peace, 
comfort, and happiness of intelligent beings. That which, 
in a word, blinds the understanding of man, perverts 
his judgment, and depraves his affections and passions ; 
leading him to seek his happiness in this life, in mere 
brutal or sensual gratifications ; and causing him to trans- 
gress those laws which God has given him for the regu- 
lation of his life. Moral evil shows itself particularly in 
the obstinate opposition of man to the will of his Maker ; 
the transgressions by which he is disgraced and cursed ; 
and the evil tempers, disorderly affections and passions, 
which constitute his own inward hell, and turn him into 
a malignant spirit among his fellow-creatures. Hence 
come discord, contentions, seditions, debates, popular 
ruptures, anarchy, confusion, battle, bloodshed, and war, 
in all its wide-wasting varieties, and desolating con- 
sequences. Now, there is no evidence that God, the 
author and rule of regularity and order, could bring such 
disorder and desolation into the works of his own hands. 
Nor can he influence the soul with such unholy passions 
as lead it to oppose his will, insult his majesty, and pro- 
duce its own ruhv 

VI. These considerations will lead to another ques- 
tion, " Are all evils unavoidable and necessary ? " I an- 
swer, All moral evil is avoidable, and unnecessary : 



because man may cease from sinning against his Maker ; 
and all those natural evils which are the immediate con- 
sequence of transgression are also avoidable. The prin- 
cipal part of our sufferings, most of our diseases, and the 
general calamities that fall upon nations and individuals 
by wars, &c, are all avoidable, because they are all the 
fruits of voluntary and obstinate sin and transgression. 
An eminent physician has asserted that the three great 
sources of disease are, indolence, intemperance, and disor- 
derly passions : all these are avoidable, and if so, all their 
consequences; and for each, and the whole of them, 
genuine religion is a cure. Indolence is disgraceful ; In- 
temperance, brutal ; and disorderly Passions, unreason- 
able : common sense may correct the two former ; and 
the grace of God is sufficient to subdue and destroy the 
latter. These three sources of evil dried up, there is 
then an end to the major part of the diseases which con- 
stitute the chief calamities of life. From this view of 
the subject, we greatly diminish the number of unavoid- 
able evils; and see that natural evil is, in general, the 
consequence of moral evil ; and moral evil, the effect of 
our own wilful obstinacy against God, yielding to the so- 
licitations of the wicked one. Through them, we may 
be solicited to sin against the Almighty, but they can- 
not force us to do it. A man must consent to sin, before 
lie can sin. God has so constituted the human will, that 
it cannot be forced. Satan may present false images to 
the imagination, darken the mind, and confound the me- 
mory ; but he cannot force the will. He may flatter, 
soothe, and promise pleasure, in order to gain over the 
will ; but before he can ruin us, he must have our con- 
sent. "Were the case otherwise, we could not possibly 
be saved. God has given a power to the human will, 
so insuperably great, that all the armies of heaven, the 
hosts of hell, and the united energy of the whole human 


race, cannot move, force, or subdue it. In all circum- 
stances, in all solicitations to sin, we are safe, if we con- 
sent not. We have entrenchments which our most power- 
ful adversaries cannot force, and which God will not. lie 
can so enlighten our minds, influence and sway our af- 
fections, and convince our reason, that it is our highest 
interest to close in with the overtures of mercy, that we 
shall cheerfully lay hold on the hope set before us ; but 
in this case there is no force, no power, argument, or 
persuasion applied that is irresistible. Will is the prin- 
ciple of freedom or choice : to force, would be to de- 
stroy it. 

The question about Free Will has long agitated divines 
and philosophers : with their contentions I have nothing 
to do ; but the subject of their controversies, as far as 
the term which they use is concerned, is absurd. Will 
necessarily implies mental freedom, or a power in the 
soul to choose or refuse : — the addition of the word/r<?« 
to it is absurd and ridiculous, because freedom is essen- 
tial to the being of will : bound will, or will over-ruled 
by necessity, is equally absurd ; because binding and ne- 
cessitating imply in themselves, when connected with 
will, or the power to choose and refuse, essentially oppo- 
site ideas : will bound or necessitated, is will annihi- 
lated. When free volition, in reference to choice and 
refusal, ends ; then the thing itself ceases to exist, and 
another principle takes its place. The forcing of th;- 
will implies such an essential contradiction and impos- 
sibility, that it is one of those things which cannot be 
done by Omnipotence itself, because it implies absurdity 
and contradiction. God may annihilate the will, but 
he cannot force it ; for this would be to undo, by an ab- 
solute contradiction, the work of his own hands. 

God gave man this faculty that he might be a free 
rewardable or punishable moral agent ; and by his own 


eternal power and energy, he supports this faculty, ren- 
dering it superior to all force or constraint, that he may 
continue man a rational creature, preserve his account- 
ableness, and render him capable of salvation. On this 
supposition, and on this alone, is the whole revelation of 
God addressed to man, in all its promises, threatenings, 
exhortations, entreaties, expostulations, and warnings. 
It is on this ground alone, that the Holy Blessed God is 
everyway consistent with himself, and the discoveries of 
his will to mankind, when he addresses them in such 
solemn language as this :„ " See, I have set before thee 
this day life and good, and death and evil ; in that 
I command thee to love the Lord thy God, to walk in 
his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes 
and his judgments, that thou mayest live ; but if thine 
heart turn away, that thou wilt not hear — I denounce 
unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish I call 
heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I 
have set before you life and death, blessing and cuhs- 
ing ; therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed 
may live ;" Deut. xxx. 15 — 19. 

" O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have 
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth 
her chickens under her wings, and ye would not \" 
Matt, xxiii. 37- " Ye will not come to me, that ye 
might have life ;" John v. 40. But it is needless to 
multiply scriptures, for this is the spirit of divine reve 
lation from the beginning to the end. 

That Satan can never lead a soul into sin till he gain 
its own consent, has been well stated by that deep and 
nervous writer, the Rev. John Smith, Fellow of Queen's 
College, Cambridge, in his discourse on " A Christian's 
Conflicts :" " The certainty of success to all those who 
resist the devil ; resist the devil, and he mill flee from 
you ; he cannot stand when opposed in the strength of 


God ; he will fall down as swift as lightning ; he cannot 
bear the glory of God shining in the souls of men. 
Here, it is no more, but, stand and conquer, resist and 
vanquish. For, first of all, the devil and sin, in themselves 
considered, are but weak and impotent. They cannot 
prevail over the soul which yields not to them ; the evil 
spirit then only prevails over us when we ourselves con- 
sent to his suggestions; all his strength lies in our 
treachery and falseness to our own souls. Though those 
wicked spirits be perpetually so near us, yet they cannot 
bow or bend our wills ; there is a place of defence in the 
souls of men, into which they cannot enter; they may 
stand at a distance, allure and entice them ; but they 
cannot prevail over them, except they wilfully and 
shamefully deliver over their strength into the enemy's 
hand. It is, indeed, nothing else but hell itself in the 
souls of men, that gives the devil such free entertain- 
ment there. Men are, therefore, so much captivated by 
him, because they voluntarily take his yoke upon them. 
Could we, or would we, resist sin and Satan, they could 
not hurt us. Everything is weak and impotent, accord- 
ing to the distance it stands from God, who is the only 
Fountain of life and power. Let us not impute the 
fruits of our own sluggishness to the power of the evil 
spirit without ; or to God's neglecting of us. Open thy 
windows, thou sluggard, and let in the beams of divine 
light that are there waiting upon thee ; then shalt thou 
find the shadows of the night dispelled and scattered ; 
and the warm beams of light and love enfolding thee ; 
which, the higher they arise on the horizon of thy soul, 
the more fully they will display their native strength 
and beauty upon thee, transforming thee more and more 
from darkness to light ; from the similitude of Satan, 
into a participation of the divine image. What the Jews 
have observed of error, is true of all sin, n-b:i -h ?x ipo> 


sheker ein lo ragelim, " Falsity hath no feet :" no basis 
of its own to subsist and rest on. Let us withdraw our 
will and affections from it, and it will soon fall into 
nothing." — Smith's Select Discourses, 4to., Lond. 1660, 
p. 474. 

Notwithstanding all this, there are, it must be granted, 
many unavoidable natural evils ; but most of them ori- 
ginate in avoidable moral evil. Many men will sin, and 
so be a curse to themselves, and a plague to others ; and 
there will be desolating storms, tempests, dearth, famines, 
and in process of time, those infirmities that tend to 
dissolve the connexion betwixt soul and body, and finally 
terminate in death. But none 6f these is a reason 
against the possibility of mental happiness here below, 
because none of these can have any moral evil effect 
upon the soul : on the contrary, if properly managed, 
they may become instruments of our eternal blessed- 
ness ; for all things work together for good to them who 
love God. 

In considering this subject, we should make as broad 
a distinction between happiness and gratification, as we 
do between body and spirit. As the former implies 
" that state in which all the faculties and desires of the 
mind are filled and satisfied with that good which is 
suited to their nature" therefore it belongs to spirit. 
As the latter implies a sufficiency of food, raiment, 
drink, rest, ease, sleep, &c, and such things as are 
suited to the nature of animal desires ; therefore it 
belongs to body. 

Happiness, therefore, does not belong to the body ; 
what this requires, is gratification and ease. As it is a 
natural being, it is affected by natural things. For the 
body, God has given the earth and its productions. 
Animal desires are gratified by these material things ; 
food, when hungry; drink, when thirsty; rest, when 


weary ; ease, when in pain ; sleep, when exhausted by 
the day's labour ; with suitable clothing to preserve from 
the inclemency of the weather ; are all that the body re- 
quires to satisfy its wants, and thus produce gratification 
and contentment. 

To the soul, therefore, happiness belongs; of this, it 
alone is capable, and as it is a spiritual being, the hap- 
piness of which it is capable must be spiritual, and must 
be produced by the possession, not of an earthly, but of 
a spiritual good. A man may have as many houses ns 
he can inhabit, as many clothes as he can wear, as 
many beds as he can lie on, and as much food as he can 
eat, and with all possess sound health and strength ; 
and yet his soul be in misery, while his body has not one 
wish ungratified, nor a single want unsupplied. Like 
may cleave to and assimilate with like. The productions 
of the earth are suited to animal wants ; but what rela- 
tion have food, raiment, gold, silver, and earthly posses- 
sions, to an immortal spirit ? The abundance of them 
does not satisfy it ; the want of them does not distress 
it. These are not made for soul or spirit ; they have 
nothing in their nature suited to the nature of a spiritual 
substance. God constituted the body so as to receive 
gratification and support from natural things ; and en- 
dowed these natural things with such properties, as render 
them suitable to those bodies ; but he made the soul of 
a different nature, and designed it a happiness which 
no sublunary things can communicate, affect, or remove. 
He gave it unbounded capacities and infinite desires. 
I mean by this, that its capacities are not limited by 
created things ; and its wishes extend beyond all finite 
good and excellence. As, therefore, the capacities of the 
soul extend far beyond all created material good and 
excellence, God alone must be its portion ; he alone 
can satisfy its infinite desires • he alone can make it 


happy. Therefore the text says, Rejoice (be happy) in 
the Lord. It is, therefore, in God alone, that happiness 
is to be found. 

VII. But how is this effected ? And what does it 
imply ? These were questions of great and solemn im- 
portance among the ancient sages of the heathen world. 
And after long search and much discussion, they came to 
the general agreement, that " happiness, or the supreme 
good, consisted in haying the animal nature subjected to 
the rational." In order to this, they took incredible 
pains, invented copious rules, and prescribed ascetic dis- 
cipline of the most painful and difficult nature. But 
alas, all was in vain ; the animal rose above the rational; 
and the brute ran away with the man. Their fine 
maxims, prescriptions, and discipline were burnt threads, 
when opposed to the resistance of their gigantic fallen 
nature. Of one material point, they were generally 
unapprehensive, viz., that reason itself was perverted; 
that the thing by which they hoped to effect the cure, 
was itself diseased by habits of sin. Reason needed as 
much a controlling, regulating, healing power, as the 
animal passions themselves. Hence, they made no pro- 
gress ; all their doctrines, maxims, rules, and discipline 
were inefficient. 

As divine revelation shows us the depth and invete- 
racy of our disease, so it shows us our only cure. As 
God alone is the Source of happiness, so he alone 
can prepare the soul for it ; he alone can save us from 
our sins ; he alone can purify the soul, can bring a clean 
out of an unclean thing, can subject the animal to the 
rational, and the rational to the spirit of his holiness. 
The Holy Spirit of God influences the spirit of man ; 
enlightens its understanding, rectifies its judgment, re- 
moves obliquity from the will, and purifies and refines 
the affections and desires. Thus, our best reason is taught 


reason, and our mill taught rectitude. The soul is puri- 
fied unto himself, and thus becomes a fit habitation for 
God through the Spirit. 

But how is this to be acquired ? The same revela- 
tion tells us : " God so loved the world, that he gave his 
onlj-begotten Son, that they who believe in him should 
not perish, but have everlasting life." " The Lord Jesus 
came to seek and to save that which was lost." "lie 
was delivered (unto death) for our offences ; and he rose 
again for our justification ;" and, " We have an entrance 
into the holiest by the blood of Jesus ;" for " his blood 
cleanseth from all sin." 

To show that the exhortation, Rejoice in the Lord 
alway, is founded on a doctrine which springs from the 
divine nature, we need only to have recourse to 1 John v. 
11, 12, " And this is the record, that God hath given to 
us eternal life, and this life is in his Son ; he that hath 
the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God 
hath not life." This being the doctrine or principle, the 
advice is founded on it. God has given us eternal life ; 
but this life is in his Son. If so, no man can have the 
life, unless he have the Son. Hence, then, says the 
apostle, Rejoice in the Lord. Be happy in having Christ 
in you the hope of glory. Your souls were made for 
God ; and God alone can fill and make them happy. 

But is this the will of God ? Is there sufficient evi- 
dence that it is his desire to make us happy in this life ? 
That he desires to do this, there can be no doubt: 1. 
The very constitution of your souls proves this. He has 
made you capable of enjoying himself; and if he have 
not designed to become himself the portion of the im- 
mortal spirit, he must have designed its misery and not 
its happiness ; for he has provided no other portion for 
it. Nothing that his hands have formed can satisfy the 
wishes of a human spirit, or fulfil its desires. 2. That 


he must have designed it for happiness, and intended to 
fill it with himself, the infinite goodness of his own 
nature proves. He could not have made it capable of 
endless and immeasurable happiness, placed this happi- 
ness fully in its view, and rendered the enjoyment eter- 
nally impossible by refusing to communicate himself! 
His goodness for ever disproves this. 3. Though the 
soul be fallen from its primitive righteousness and per- 
fection, and is altogether become unclean, yet it has not 
lost its powers and capacities ; and to redeem it from the 
power, the guilt, and the infection of sin, he has given 
his own Son Jesus Christ to die for it, that it might be 
reconciled to himself, have all its sins blotted out, and 
be adopted into the family of heaven. He has also sent 
forth his own Spirit into the souls of believers, to purify 
them from all unrighteousness, and bring them up to 
that standard of perfection, from which they had fallen. 
4. His whole revelation proves this, his institution of so 
many means of salvation, his continual influence on the 
heart, and the invariably favouring current of providen- 
tial operation. 5. The text itself gives no slight indica- 
tions of this willingness to make his creatures happy. 
The Holy Spirit, by the apostle, says, Rejoice — be 
happy. Rejoice always ! — be always happy. Rejoice 
in tJie Lord ! — look for spiritual happiness ; such as is 
suited to your nature, and such as God can give. Re- 
joice in the Lord ! — not merely because you know there is 
a God ; not merely because you know that his word has 
free course and is glorified ; not merely because you know 
that the church of God is in a prosperous state, that 
religion gains ground, that infidelity loses countenance, 
and that your friends, neighbours, and relatives are 
among the genuine converts to the Lord Jesus : though 
these are all subjects of real joy and thankfulness to a 
Christian mind, yet this is not all that the text means ; 


it speaks particularly to you, to every individual — Have 
thou God for thy continual portion. Know him as thy 
Saviour and thy sanctifier. Dwell thou in God, and 
God in thee. Be one with God, and God with thee. 
Have the prayer of your Lord fulfilled in you : "I pray," 
said he, " that they all may he one ; as thou, Father, 
art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in 
us : that the world may believe that thou hast sent 
me : that they may be one, even as we are one ; I in 
them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect 
in one ;" John xvii. 21 — 23. 

The slightest reflection on this subject will be sufficient 
to show, that this constant happiness, arising from the 
constant abiding of God in the soul, cannot be the por- 
tion of any heart which is not cleansed from all sin. 
The heart in which Christ constantly dwells, he com- 
pletely fills ; and holiness becometh his house for ever. 
He binds the strong armed man, spoils his goods, and 
casts him out ; and then, having sanctified the house, 
makes it his permanent dwelling. If it be his will that 
the happiness lost by sin should be restored to believers 
in Christ, then it is his will that they should be 
made holy. Misery was never known till sin entered 
into the world ; and happiness can never be known by 
any man till sin be expelled from his soul. No holi- 
ness, no happiness ; and no plenary and permanent 
happiness without plenary and permanent holiness. I 
repeat it, that to give true and permanent happiness to 
believers, is the design of that God, whose name is 
Mercy, and whose nature is Love. The duplication of 
the exhortation in the text, speaks this strongly : Rejoice 
in the Lord always ; and, as if peculiarly pleased with 
the advice inspired by his own Spirit, God seems to say 
to his servant : " Paul, this is so agreeable to the benevo- 
lence, mercy, and goodness of my nature ; so consistent 


with all my counsels and designs ; so necessary for the 
creatures on whom I have set my heart, and for whom I 
have given my Son, that I will have them explicitly and 
fully informed of it; therefore, repeat the exhortation." 
And the apostle immediately adds, And again I say, 
rejoice ! 

When may we expect to attain this happiness ? is a 
question of great importance, and requires a pointed 
answer. But there is no difficulty in it. From every 
view of the subject it appears that the blessing of a clean 
heart, and the happiness consequent on it, may he obtained 
in this life, because here, not in the future world, are we 
to be saved. Whenever, therefore, such blessings are 
offered, they may be received; but all the graces and 
blessings of the gospel are offered at all times ; and when 
they are offered they may be received. Every sinner is 
exhorted to turn from the evil of his way, to repent of 
sin, and to supplicate the throne of grace for pardon. In 
the same moment in which he is commanded to ton, in 
that moment he may and should turn. He does not re- 
ceive the exhortation to repentance to-day, that he may 
become a penitent at some future time.. Every penitent 
is exhorted to believe on the Lord Jesus, that he may 
receive remission of sins ; he does not, he cannot under- 
stand that the blessing thus promised is not to be received 
to-day, but at some future time. In like manner, to 
every believer the new heart and the right spirit are 
offered in the present moment, that they may, in that 
moment, be received. For as the work of cleansing and 
renewing the heart is the work of God, his almighty 
power can perform it in a moment, in the twinkling of 
an eye. And as it is this moment our duty to love God 
with all our heart, and we cannot do this till he cleanse 
our hearts, consequently he is ready to do it this moment, 
because he wills that we should in this moment thus love 


him. Therefore we may justly say, now is the accepted 
time, now is the day of salvation. He, who in the be- 
ginning caused light in a moment to shine out of dark- 
ness, can in a moment shine into our hearts, and give 
us to see the light of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ. 
This moment therefore we may be emptied of sin, filled 
with holiness, and become truly happy. 

Before I conclude, I shall anticipate another question, 
the answer to which has already been partially, though 
perhaps not sufficiently given. "May not mental hap- 
piness be so affected by natural evil, as to impair it, sus- 
pend it, or even destroy it?" I answer, No. I have 
already shown, that the happiness for which I contend 
consists not merely in the purification of the heart from 
all sin, the cause of misery, but in the continual in- 
dwelling of God, in communion with the Father and the 
Son, through the Holy Ghost. Happiness, therefore, 
arising from such a source, is not affected by the changes 
and chances to which mortal and sublunary things are 
exposed. It depends on the continual presence and ap- 
probation of God ; and most certainly, no natural evil 
occurrence could induce the holy and blessed God to 
suspend his influence in the soul of his loving obedient 
follower; or cause him to hide his face, or withdraw 
the evidence of his approbation from him whose motto is, 
Believe, love, obey. But it may be asked farther, " Can 
a man's mind be truly happy,, while his body is pressed 
with want, sickness, and pain ?" Undoubtedly, for the 
reason already given, viz., that natural evils, of what kind 
soever they may be, have no tendency to produce moral 
evil. They are themselves, in a certain sense, the conse- 
quences of moral evil, but they never did and never can 
produce it. Such a cause is wholly inadequate to such 
an effect. Moral evil did not produce natural evil as its 
immediate effect ; but man's disobedience brought God's 

VOL. I. M 


curse upon the earth, and thus natural evil was the im- 
mediate consequence of that curse. Hear the Scripture : 
" And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast eaten of the 
tree of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not 
eat of it, cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow 
shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life ; thorns also 
and thistles shall it bring forth to thee ; in the sweat of 
thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the 
ground: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou re- 
turn," Gen. iii. 17, 19- Happiness in God does not pre- 
vent the sensation of pain, grief, and distress, no more 
than it prevents us from feeling hunger, thirst, cold, 
fatigue, &c. But these need not affect nor interrupt our 
happiness. I have known cases where persons were in 
what might be literally called excruciating pain and 
agony for weeks together, and yet indescribably happy 
in God, and even returning him thanks for every exacer- 
bation of pain, and paroxysm of distress ! 

But these are not strange things to the genuine follow- 
ers of God. I may appeal to every man who has found 
redemption in the blood of the cross, that when the Spirit 
of God bore witness with his spirit that he was a child of 
God, he felt unutterable happiness ! "Being justified by 
faith, he had peace with God, through our Lord Jesus, — 
rejoiced in hope of the glory of God; and could even glory 
in tribulation." Such persons can adopt the language of 
the poet, feeling that these very strong expressions owe 
little either to enthusiastic colouring or poetic license : — 

" I rode on the sky, freely justified I, 

Nor envied Elijah his seat ; 
My heart mounted higher, in a chariot of fire, 

And the moon it was under my feet." 

They felt the presence and approbation of their God ; 
and should they who possess this blessing be brought to 


the fiery furnace, or the valley of the shadow of death, 
they could neither be appalled by the flames, nor be moved 
by the terror ; all is heaven, where God reigns. The holy 
man has remounted to his source ; he is re-united to his 
God, the Source and Cause of all blessedness. The grave 
has no terrors for him, and death no sting. Of him it 
may be truly said, — 

Felix qui potuit rerum cognoscere causas : 
Atque metus omnes et inexorabile fatum 
Subjecit pedibus, strepitumque Acherontis avari. 

Virg. Geor. ii., ver. 490. 

He fears God, and has no other kind of fear. He can 
trace out the causes of things ; he sees that good must 
come from God, and in him he seeks it ; he knows that 
all evil springs from sin, and therefore he avoids it. To 
him destiny and fate are names more empty than sound- 
ing brass or tinkling cymbals. He tramples dismay and 
dread under his feet ; nor can the yells of the tormented 
spirits of Acheron shake the firmness of his soul. 

He has received that perfect love which casteth out all 
fear that hath torment, 1 John iv. 18. In him the end of 
the commandment is accomplished, for he has love out of 
a pure heart and good conscience, and faith unfeigned, 
1 Tim. i. 5. The great promise so solemnly and impres- 
sively announced by the prophet, is fulfilled in him : 
" Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall 
be clean; from all your firthiness, and from all your 
idols will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give 
you ; and I will take away the stony heart out of your 
flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will 
put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my 
statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them," 
Ezek. xxxvi. 25 — 27. All this is summarily expressed 
in that prayer, which you have often offered up to God in 
the most solemn act of your religious service : — 

m 2 


" Almighty God, unto -whom all hearts be open, all de- 
sires known, and from whom no secrets are hid, cleanse 
the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy 
Holy Spirit, that me may perfectly love thee, and 
worthily magnify thy holy name, through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. Amen." — Collect before the Communion Ser- 

As sin is the fountain of all misery, and inward sin is 
the sole cause of inward unhappiness ; and as nothing less 
than the mighty energy of the Spirit of God, applying 
the salvation purchased by the blood of the covenant, can 
purify the fallen, depraved, and unclean spirit of man ; 
and as he who feels inward sin, evil tempers, and unholy 
propensities, which often lead into transgressions of the 
law of God, must necessarily feel guilt and wretchedness ; 
so he who has got even the thoughts of his heart cleansed 
by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and is enabled in 
consequence to love God perfectly, i. e., with all his heart, 
soul, mind, and strength, and to magnify his holy name 
worthily, must necessarily be happy. He cannot be 
wretched, for the cause of wretchedness is destroyed, and 
he loves God with all his heart ; he cannot feel guilt and 
condemnation, for he is enabled worthily to magnify God's 
holy name. Thus we see that in him the power, the guilt, 
and the nature of sin are destroyed. To him " the grace 
of God that bringeth salvation to all men, hath appeared ; 
teaching him that, denying ungodliness and worldly 
lusts, he should live soberly, righteously, and godly in 
this present world; looking for that blessed hope and 
glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour 
Jesus Christ ; who gave himself for us that he might 
redeem us from all iniquity, and purify us unto him- 
self, a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Titus ii. 

It is not, therefore, in another state, that we are to be 


restored to this purity and happiness, but in this present 
world ; in the place where we can perfectly love God ; 
and as love is the principle and incentive to all obedience, 
where we can worthily magnify God's holy name. And 
is it not proper, that where sin has been contracted, where 
the atonement for it has been offered, that there it should 
be destroyed ? Hence salvation from sin is to be received 
in this life ; and glorification of the body and soul, as the 
consequence in the life to come. In the whole Bible 
there is not one intimation that sin shall be destroyed, 
either in the article of death, or in the other world. 
Here we are to rejoice in the Lord always. Here we 
are to wash our robes, and make them white through the 
blood of the Lamb. Here we are to be saved out of the 
hands of all our enemies ; and here we are to enjoy that 
happiness which shall qualify us for glorification in the 
eternal world. 

Therefore, with angels and archangels, and with all the 
company of heaven, we laud and magnify thy glorious 
name, evermore praising thee, and saying, Holy, holy, holy 
Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy 
glory : glory be to thee, Lord, Most High ! Amen. 



Philifpians iii. 20, 21. 

20. *' For our conversation is in heaven ; from whence also we 
look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

21. " Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned 
like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is 
able even to subdue all things unto himself." 

Before I enter on the consideration of the text, there 
are several circumstances of time, place, and occasion 
■which require to he noted. 

And first of the time. Several deaths have recently 
happened among some of the principal families who attend 
the worship of God in this place ; the deaths particularly 
of some young persons have been very edifying, though 
deeply solemn and impressive. 

Secondly, of place. We behold many people in mourn- 
ing, and the chapel itself hung with black, on account, 
not only of their private and domestic distresses, but 
chiefly on account of the lately arived intelligence of the 
sudden death of the Rev. Dr. Coke, a man of indefatigable 
missionary zeal and might, who, being on his passage to 
the island of Ceylon, with several missionaries, to pro- 
claim the gospel of Christ to the heathen, died within a 
few days' sail of the place of his destination. 

Thirdly, added to all this, the doctrine of the text, 
which is taken out of the epistle for the day, twenty- 
third Sunday after Trinity ; and which, being in close 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. III. 20, 21. 253 

association with all the above circumstances, induces me 
to enter on a consideration of the deeply important sub- 
jects of life, death, and immortality — Subjects which 
all allow to be the most interesting that can fall under 
the consideration of the human mind — subjects which 
should be considered, not only in a moral and religious, 
but also in a physical point of view ; not only that we 
may know what God says of them in the revelation with 
which he has favoured us, but also that we may obtain 
a philosophical acquaintance with the nature and con- 
stitution of the subjects, the body and soul of man, to 
which they refer. 

In this latter point of view, they are seldom con- 
sidered' in public discourses — not so much because the 
ministers of the gospel are incapable of thus viewing 
them, but because they are discouraged by their con- 
gregations from all discussions of this kind ; a certain 
class of unthinking people terming them carnal reason- 
ing, and consequently proscribing them as being contrary 
to what they call evangelical preaching. 

It would be easy to prove that discussions of the kind 
which I now propose, are authorized by the whole tenor 
of divine revelation, and sanctioned particularly by the 
word and example of our blessed Lord, who is ever 
teaching us, though we are slow of heart to learn, to 
ascend to things spiritual and eternal, by means of those 
that are natural and transitory. 

Though the text speaks professedly only on the glori- 
ous state of the human body after the general resur- 
rection, yet, as that necessarily implies both deatbr 
and previous life, I shall take these subjects in the 
order of nature, and try how far a philosophical con- 
sideration of what is laid down in Scripture relative to 
them, may tend to remove our darkness, and strengthen 
our faith. 


In order to this it may be necessary first to define the 
terms themselves, that we may use them in a strict and 
determinate physiological sense. 

I. Life has been defined, "The union of the body 
and the soul;" and this definition necessarily follows 
from that given below, of death. But it is as plainly 
absurd in the one case, as it is in the other ; and sup- 
poses that in all cases of life, a soul or immortal prin- 
ciple is formed to be connected with a body, in order to 
produce the vital functions. I shall, therefore, leave this, 
and adopt that given by the most accurate physiologists, 
" Life is the assemblage of those functions by which 
death is resisted." But in the human being, an immortal 
spirit is always present, during the whole extension of 
what is called life. 

II. Death is generally defined, "The separation of 
the soul and body." This definition, though it conveys 
scarcely any knowledge to the mind, as it gives no dis- 
tinct idea of the thing itself, may nevertheless answer 
the general purposes of morality and religion. But in 
the present inquiry, we must consider the subject in a 
nearer and more correct point of view, that we may 
know the subject itself, without attempting to explain it 
by negative propositions. That in death the immortal 
spirit is separated from the body, with me, admits of no 
doubt ; and this spirit admits neither of death nor decay. 

I therefore take up the definition which the most 
accurate physiologists adopt, and say, " Death is the total 
and irrecoverable cessation of all the functions of a living 

This definition is highly proper, as it distinguishes this 
final cessation of the animal functions, 1st, From acci- 
dental suspension, as in those cases of swooning, suffo- 
cation, and drowning, from which persons have been 
resuscitated ; and therefore, very properly termed by 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. III. 20, 21. 255 

medical men, cases of suspended animation. And 2dly, 
From that state of organized bodies where putrefaction 
has taken place, and the solution of the parts has been 
the consequence. 

III. By immortality, I mean, as it regards man, not 
only the restoration of the human body to life, in cir- 
cumstances in which death shall be for ever impossible, 
but also the re-union of the immortal spirit with it in 
the eternal presence of God. 

After these definitions, it may be just necessary to 
state, that all animals have their origin by generation, 
their growth by nutrition, and their termination by 

Of Life. 

1. Life has never been detected in its first principles 
or commencement. For a time, the animal continues in 
connexion with the parent, or in the nidus in which its 
rudiments are formed. By and by it becomes detached 
from the womb or nidus, and lives in a state of indepen- 
dence. But, wherever it is discovered, it is found in a 
state of complete activity, associating to itself those 
principles necessary to the construction of the aggregate 
of that body in and by which it is to operate. 

An animal, therefore, can be traced to its parent — that 
to its parent, and so on through the whole series of beings 
of that species ; but the commencement of life in any is 

It is true that organization is supposed by many to be 
the principle of life. 

But that the principle of life does not consist in 
organization of any kind, appears from this, 1. That the 
organization may be perfect, and the principle of life 



2. That death often takes place where the organization 
exhibits no proofs of morbid alteration. 

3. Organization may be perfect before life commences : 
instanced in the scriptural account of the creation of 
man : " God made man out of the dust of the ground." 
Here was a perfectly organized body, in its full maturity 
and growth — no principle of life had ever yet acted upon 
it, and therefore this organization did not proceed from the 
operation of a vital principle inherent in that body ; for 
it is added that, after this body was thus formed, " God 
breathed into the nostrils of the man the breath of life, 
and he became a living soul ;" Gen. ii. 7- 

Let us examine this account. It has been already 
observed that life is never discovered in its commence- 
ment. We find it a perfect and efficient principle as 
soon as we can detect its being. "We have seen that it 
exists in connexion with the parent, or nidus, in which 
it first became manifest, and afterwards existed without 
either ; we have traced it from parent to parent — and 
here we trace it to God. God breathed- into the nostrils 
of the perfectly organized Adam — his lungs were inflated 
— his heart began its pulsations — and the mass of blood, 
torpid in the arteries and veins, now began to circulate 
— and the newly-made creature found himself capable 
of motion and thought in the same moment. 

The original is emphatic : " God breathed into his 
nostrils, n-n nam nishmat chayim, the soul or principle 
of lives, in consequence of which double principle, he 
became n-n w*n nephesh chaiyah, a living soul ; or a com- 
pound creature, being both a soul and an animal ; to 
inform and actuate each of which, viz., his animal and 
intellectual nature, he had the breath or inspiration of 
lives ; so that he became a perfect animal and a rational 
being ; for it is said, Job xxxii. 8, " There is a spirit 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. III. 20, 21. 257 

in man," oran % iw noiwi venishmet shaddai tebinem, " and 
the inspiration of the Almighty giveth him under- 

To prove that he was endued with animal life, and 
intellectual powers, " God brought to him every beast of 
the field, and every fowl of the air, to see what he would 
call them." And he gave names to all — "and what- 
soever Adam called every living creature, that was the 
name thereof;" Gen. ii. 19, 20. Here he had the full 
proof of his own intellectual powers. He discerned the 
qualities and habits of the different creatures brought 
before him ; and gave them names expressive of those 
qualities and habits. This is proved from the significa- 
tion of the names of the different animals mentioned 
in the Hebrew Scriptures — the language in which Adam 
named those creatures. He was n-n cliaiyah, an animal 
like them ; but he had w^ nephesh, or •nw mvn nishmat 
shaddai, an intellectual principle, by which he could dis- 
cern their natures and habits; and he gave so full a 
proof of his intelligence here, that God ratified his nomi- 
nation, and did not change one of the names which he 
had imposed ! 

Here we find soul or the intellectual principle, distinct 
from life or the animal principle — both distinct from 
organization, and both immediately proceeding from God 
himself. God, therefore, is the Author of both soul and 
life, and organized body ; and is it not on this ground 
that life has never been detected in its commencement, 
or in a state of imperfection ? From the first moment we 
discover it, it is perfectly performing all its functions. 

The doctrine of materialism is evidently absurd : there 
could be no such principles as life, thought, and intelli- 
gence, if the Almighty Spirit did not move, actuate, and 
work everything according to the counsel of his own 


will or pleasure ; and thus become the principle of life 
and reason to all animate and intelligent beings. 

The doctrine of materialism, though it do not owe its 
birth, yet has had its embellishment, from our greatest 
poet, Milton ; who, in his fifth book of Paradise Lost, 
exhibits the angel Raphael teaching and explaining the 
doctrine at large to Adam and Eve. It will not be 
improper to produce the passage here, that Milton's 
admirers, who have asserted that the imputation of such 
an opinion to this divine poet is a positive slander, may 
learn to speak more cautiously. I shall first give the 
sum of what he says, and then produce his words. 

The poet asserts, 1. That God made one first matter. 

2. That he endued this first matter with various forms. 

3. That out of it he produced all life. 4. That this life 
is capable of continual refinement, till body itself is 
transmuted into spirit. 5. That the food received into 
the human stomach, being digested, produces blood — 
blood, vital spirits — vital spirits, animal spirits — animal 
spirits, intellectual. 6. That from these spring life, sense, 
fancy, and understanding. % That from our aliment 

the soul receives discursive and intuitive reason, which 
is its essence. 8. And that, in short, all spirits and 
intellectual beings, are formed out of matter — and that 
from a prima materia, men, angels, and archangels de- 
rived their being. The words follow from which I have 
drawn the above particulars. 

To whom the winged hierarch replied : 
O Adam, one Almighty is, from whom 
All things proceed, and up to Him return, 
If not depraved from good ; created all 
Such to perfection, onejirst matter all, 
Endued with various forms, various degrees 
Of substance, and in things that live, of life ; 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. III. 20, 21. 259 

But more refined, more spirituous, and pure, 
As nearer to him placed, or nearer tending, 
Each in their several active spheres assigned, 
Till body up to spirit work, in bounds 
Proportioned to each kind. 

To illustrate this doctrine, he produces the following 
simile from the vegetable creation, to prove that the soul 
receives its being and reason from the food which is 
digested in the stomach, as fruits and flowers have their 
savours and odours from the root that bears them. 

So from the root 
Springs lighter the green stalk, from thence the leaves 
More airy, last the bright consummate flower 
Spirits odorous breathes ; fiowers and their fruit, 
Man's nourishment, by gradual scale sublimed, 
To vital spirits aspire, to animal, 
To intellectual ; give both life and sense, 
Fancy and understanding ; whence the soul 
Reason receives, and Reason is her being, 
Discursive, or intuitive. 

Paradise Lost, Book v., 1. 468 — 488. 

Here is a doctrine pretended to be taught by an angel 
from heaven, at once disgraceful both to God and man, 
and demonstrably both unphilosophical and false. 

Milton apparently borrowed this doctrine from Rabe- 
lais ; see book iii., chap. 4, where not only the doctrine, 
but the mode of reasoning, and the very ideas expressed 
in the above lines, are found in " Panurge's Explanation 
of the Microcosm ;" where, having shown that from the 
food the blood is derived, and by different means vari- 
ously elaborated, he adds : — " At last it is made so fine 
and subtile within the rete mirabile, that thereafter those 
animal spirits are framed and composed of it, by means 
whereof the imagination, discourse, judgment, resolution, 


deliberation, ratiocination, and memory have their rise ;" 
see Sir. T. Urquart's Translation, 18mo., vol. iii., p. 42. 
Take also the original : " Enfin tant est afnne dedans le 
retz merveilleux que pur apres en sont faicts les esperits 
animaulx, moyennant lesquelz elle imagine, discourt, re- 
soult, delibere, raciocine, et rememore." 

From this we may at once see whence Milton got both 
his doctrine and his ideas. 

For excellent views and correct reasoning on the Im- 
materiality of the Soul, see Drew's Essay on the subject. 

Of Death. 

II. Having considered life in its origin and operations, 
let us next view that change which passes upon animated 
beings, in what is termed Death ; which we have denned 
to be, the total and irrecoverable cessation of all the func- 
tions of a living animal. 

It has been observed, that all animals have their origin 
in generation, — their growth in nutrition, — and their ter- 
mination in death. Life and nutrition are widely dif- 
ferent. Nutrition is that power which an animal has of 
assimilating certain substances to itself, by which its 
volume is increased to certain dimensions. Every species 
of animal is prescribed within certain dimensions, which 
that species in general never surpasses. The accretion 
of bulk to form these dimensions, proceeds from nutria 
tion, — nutrition is carried on by a threefold operation, or 
rather by three different kinds of absorption. 1. By 
substances taken into the stomach — there digested, and 
afterwards taken into the general circulation, and by a 
certain indescribahle process of nature, or operation of 
the living principle, absorbed and assimilated to the body 
into which they are introduced. 2. By matter absorbed 
from substances floating in the circumambient air, which 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. III. 20, 21. 261 

is a proof that the living principle exerts an influence 
beyond that body in which it is resident ; and, 3. By 
the air itself, or certain essential parts of it taken into 
the lungs, and there absorbed, decomposed, thrown into 
the circulation, and, by these means, compacted with the 

In a general sense, independently of mere aliment re- 
ceived into the stomach, and the matter absorbed by the 
external surface, air, humidity, and heat are the grand 
means which the principle of life uses to support the or- 
ganized system ; and while that assemblage of functions 
which are said to constitute life continues in animal 
organized bodies, death is prevented. "When these cease, 
death can be no longer resisted, and life then becomes 

In order to have a more correct notion of death, let us 
view the changes which pass on a human body when de- 
prived of life. 

Suppose, as is not unfrequently the case, a person 
taken off in the bloom of beauty and vigour of mature 
life. A moment before, everything that was lovely and 
interesting was combined in the shape, mien, motion, 
eyes, lips, and accents of this master-piece of God's 
lower works. Death takes place : the muscles become 
flaccid ; the inexpressibly delicate lines and contours, 
which form what is emphatically called the line of beauty, 
almost totally disappear; the angular processes of the 
bones become apparent ; the eyes, glassy and inexpres- 
sive, being utterly destitute of speculation; the lips 
livid, and the extremities cold and rigid ; all voluntary 
and involuntary motion being entirely at an end. Here 
we behold the termination of life, and the commence- 
ment of death. I say commencement ; for the changes 
which have already taken place may be considered only 
as the medium between life, and the desolations pro- 


duced by death. A succession of changes soon follows 
those already mentioned, which are awful, degrading, and 
even horrible. Exposed to the air, this body, deprived 
of its vital principle, becomes blue — then green, next 
black; decomposition takes rapid place; a part of this 
once lovely system is thrown off in the most noisome 
effluvia; others are resolved into the most putrid and 
offensive sanies, which also soon becomes dissipated; 
and a small portion of earth and salts are the apparent 
remains of a structure that required the skill of God to 
plan, and his omnipotence to execute. 

What were the proximate causes of these fearful 
changes ? They are generally acknowledged to be air, 
humidity, and heat : the very means which the vital 
principle used for the support of this wonderful machine, 
now, in the absence of that principle, become the de- 
stroyers of the fabric which they were the instruments of 
raising, and to the support of which they so essentially 

In like manner, vegetables are nourished by air, hu- 
midity, and heat, while in connexion with the earth : 
pluck up the plant, and the same agents decompose and 
destroy it. 

Of Immortality. 

Ill, It may now be inquired, seeing man is liable to 
such degradation and corruption, Was he made so in 
the intention of his Creator, or has something inter- 
vened which has afforded infinite wisdom sufficient rea- 
son to destroy this most accomplished work of its own 

That man was created perfect, the perfections of his 
Maker most profoundly argue. That he is now in a 
state of wonderfully comparative perfection, both as to 
the structure of his body, and the structure and powers 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL, III. 20, 21. 263 

of his mind, all are convinced who have examined the 
subject as they ought ; and that God never made such 
a curious and complicated machine to pull to pieces, and 
consign to final destruction, after having exerted his 
providence in the support of it for a few years, we may 
safely assert. On this head, what says God in divine 
revelation ? " The body is dead, because of sin ! " 
When the commandment was given, death was threat- 
ened as the penalty of transgression : In the day thou 
eatest thereof '^of the tree of knowledge) thou shalt surely 
die, ninn mo mot tamut, " dying thou shalt die." Thou 
shalt become mortal, and by a variety of decays, &c, 
thou shalt at last fall under the empire of death. But 
immediate spiritual death was the first consequence of 
the transgression. 

That the immortality of the human creature was de- 
signed by the Creator, we have at least an indirect evi-. 
dence in the tree of life, which was planted in the garden 
of paradise — by eating of which, it appears, mortality 
would have been precluded, and immortality secured. 
And when man had sinned against God, and brought 
darkness into his understanding, and irregularity and 
disorder into his passions ; lest he should eat of the tree 
of life, and live for ever in that dark and disordered state, 
and the penalty be prevented which justice had decreed, 
therefore "God drove him out of the garden, and placed 
at the entrance cherubim, and a flaming sword which 
turned every way," to prevent his re-entering, and having 
access to that tree of life, the use of which, even in that 
condition, would apparently have secured his immortality. 

Here, then, we find him abandoned to the influence of 
all those causes which would naturally bring about the 
execution of the divine sentence ; and utterly precluded 
from the use of those means by which that execution, 
might be prevented. 


In this state, a gracious promise is given in behalf of 
the soul, whose moral condition was greatly changed and 
totally deteriorated ; but whose immortality does not ap- 
pear to have been at all impaired. 

A state also of probation is fixed for the human being; 
at first of considerable duration, but afterwards gradually 
shortened, and at last bounded by certain fixed limits, 
beyond which, in a general way, it should not be permit- 
ted to pass : and this state was assigned for the purpose 
of the soul's re-acquiring the knowledge of God, and re- 
gaining that moral image of its Maker, righteousness 
and true holiness, in which it was created. Means also 
were amply furnished, in this state, for the accomplish- 
ment of this important purpose, the principal of which 
was the commerce God himself held with man, by im- 
mediate communications from himself, and by the minis- 
try of angelic beings. 

These we may safely presume were common to all the 
original inhabitants of the earth during the whole of the 
patriarchal dispensation. We have the history only of 
a few families, and of a few individuals in those families, 
and we find that the communications and ministry above 
referred to, were common to them all, and extended to 
those who were not immediately in covenant with God : 
and it would be absurd to suppose that they were with- 
held from the others who stood equally in need of them, 
or similar helps for their salvation. 

After the patriarchal age, in which the above means 
were commonly employed, God began by Moses to give 
a written revelation of his will, relative to the salvation 
of the soul. This revelation was continued for nearly 
2,000 years, receiving occasional additions by various 
men called prophets, who wrote by immediate inspiration 
from God, till the whole canon of Scripture was com- 
pleted, which God, in that dispensation of grace and jus- 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. III. 20, 21. 265 

tice, thought necessary for the instruction and salvation 
of man. During this dispensation, angelic ministry, 
not being now so necessary, though not entirely laid aside, 
was very rare. 

In all these dispensations, the immortality of the soul 
is continually supposed, but we hear scarcely anything 
of the forfeited immortality of the body being restored ; 
God leaves this under an impenetrable veil and cloud, 
through which it seldom appears, except in certain in- 
distinct and indefinite gleams of light, which are so 
transient as not only to elude examination, but also so 
evanescent as to prevent the mind from forming any 
distinct apprehension of them. 

The translation of Enoch in the patriarchal age, and 
of Elijah under the Mosaic, are the only evidences we 
have that the thing was possible ; and though not pro- 
fessedly exhibited to beget faith in this important subject, 
or excite hope, yet in all likelihood, designed for this 
gracious purpose. 

Till the New Testament dispensation, this doctrine 
was not fully known. Indeed it was not a doctrine, or 
system of teaching, as that word should be understood ; 
for it was only by Christ and his apostles that it was pro- 
fessedly and formally introduced. Of it the whole of 
the New Testament is full ; and it is everywhere made 
a most essential article of the Christian creed ; life and 
immortality being brought to light by the gospel, and 
the doctrine illustrated and confirmed by the resurrection 
and ascension of the human body of Christ Jesus. 

This circumstance is strongly confirmed by the reality 
of 'the death of Christ. There is not only no reason to 
apprehend that his case was a case of suspended ani- 
mation ; but there was every possible evidence that there 
was a total cessation of all the animal functions ; and 
that these functions must have continued in an irrecover- 


able state of cessation, had not a miraculous power in- 

He expired on the cross ; and to prevent all after- 
suspicion of merely suspended animation, God so per- 
mitting, a "soldier pierced his side with a spear, and 
forthwith came there out blood and water" — a proof that 
the spear had traversed the diaphragm and pericardium, 
and wounded the heart itself. 

It is on the ground of the reality of the immortality of 
the body of Christ, that the text asserts the immortality 
of ours. He will change our vile body, jutra<Tx»;/*ancr£i to 
auifia ti)s rcnnvbHrtitiQ ^wv, he will alter the appearance 
and condition of this body of our humiliation (this body 
that is dead, adjudged to death, because of sin), that it 
may be like unto his glorious body, hq to ytvto-Qai avTo 
avfifiopfov to auifiaTi ttjq So^tjq avrov, that it may bear a 
similar form to his glorified humanity, and be so changed 
as to be capable, through its immortality, not only of en- 
during eternally, but of the infinite spiritual enjoyments 
at the right hand of God. 

As many cases of drowning and suffocation have oc- 
curred, in which the persons, by the use of proper means, 
have been restored to life ; and which, in consequence, 
are termed cases of suspended animation ; and without 
which means, death, in the proper sense of the word, 
would have ensued, and the vital functions have irre- 
coverably ceased ; so the human, body, dead, and under 
the power of corruption, and the uttermost dissolution ot 
its component parts, must continue finally and eternally 
under that corruption, if the sovereign power of God be 
not exerted, as in its original formation, to build it up as 
at the beginning, to restore the vital principle, and to re- 
connect with both the immortal soul, so that man shall 
become that n s n wed nephesh cftaiyah, or animated rational 
being, which he was in the beginning. 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. III. 20, 21. 26'7 

Against the possibility of this work, there can be no 
objection, because the power by which it is to be pro- 
duced is omnipotent, the very same which was employed 
in its original formation ; and therefore the apostle states 
that this great event is to be brought about " according 
to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all 
things unto himself," Kara ti\v tvepyaav tov SvvaeQai avrov 
Kai v-KoraZai tavT<o ra iravra, according to that energy, or 
all-pervading, all-controlling, powerful activity, by which 
he is able to subject all things to himself, and cause 
them to answer the purposes of his will, in reference to 
all those original determinations concerning man. As he 
has purposed its final immortality, therefore, the human 
body, between death and the resurrection, may be consi- 
dered in a state of suspended immortality, and analogous 
to what takes place in suspended animation in cases of 

From what the apostle says here, we have some inti- 
mations, and not obscure ones, of the original state of the 
body of Adam. Many conjectures have been formed 
relative to his original state, and perfection of body and 
mind. That his body possessed the same form and essen- 
tial qualities which the human body possesses now, there 
can be little doubt. It was formed out of the earth, and 
there is no intimation that its essential and distinctive 
fashion was ever changed. It was in all probability, what 
it will be after the resurrection ; for it is plain, from the 
whole economy of the gospel, that God designs, accord- 
ing to his grace and justice, to restore what was lost ; and 
it is as likely that the body of Christ as it appeared in 
the transfiguration, as well as those of Moses and Elijah, 
were not only the same as the glorified body shall be 
after the resurrection, but similar to that which Adam 
had in his original creation. 

As the apostle, therefore, seems to refer to the trans- 


figuration of Christ ; and as I suppose the body of this 
second Adam did, at that time, exhibit the appearance 
of the body of the first Adam while in his state of per- 
fection and innocence, I shall spend a few moments in 
the consideration of this subject, before I conclude. 

It is said, Matt. xvii. 2, Mark ix. 3, Luke ix. 29, 
that Christ was transfigured — that the fashion of his 
countenance was altered; that is, that it did shine as the 
sim — that his raiment became shining, white as the snow; 
and as light, and glistering, and so white that no fuller on 
earth could so white them. These are the circumstances 
mentioned by the three evangelists who give this rela- 
tion ; and from the whole of them we learn that, though 
there was a most significant and visible alteration in the 
appearance, there was none in the form or lineaments of 
the body. The glorious image of God filling the soul, 
the matter forming the body being refined was rendered 
pervious to the light and glory which dwelt within, 
which beamed forth from every part, and was particu- 
larly observable in the countenance, on which there was 
no covering; and the rays of this glory transmitted 
through the body, pervaded also the raiment, so that 
whatever its colour might have been, it was totally lost 
in the effulgence of that splendour, as we know all co- 
lours are, in strong and dazzling light. 

Here, then, according to my view of the subject, was 
an exhibition in the person of the second Adam, of the 
appearance of the first Adam in his state of innocence ; 
and of that appearance which shall be exhibited by all 
glorified human beings in the realms of bliss. 

As a farther proof that the immortality of the human 
body is predetermined by the Almighty, even the inter- 
ment of the body in the grave is represented by divine 
inspiration as the seed of a future and more glorious 
body ; for, says the apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 42, &c. : " It is 

A DISCOURSE ON phfl. III. 20, 21. 269 

sown in corruption ; it is raised in incorruption. It is 
sown in dishonour ; it is raised in glory. It is sown in 
weakness ; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural 
body ; it is raised a spiritual body. Thus this corrupti- 
ble must put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put 
on immortality ; and then shall be brought to pass the 
saying that is written, ' Death is swallowed up in vie- 

From this account we find that the grand characteris- 
tics of this future body, are, incorruption — glory — power 
— spirituality — and also immortality; for death, to- 
gether with the possibility of future corruption and dis- 
solution, shall be destroyed, and swallowed up in victory. 
Then shall it appear that these bodies of our humiliation, 
are fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to tlw 
all-conquering and all-pervading energy by which he has 
power to subdue ail things unto himself. 


If these things be so, and we have a hope of this im- 
mortality in a state of eternal blessedness — how should 
we live ? how should we act ? The apostle tells us hoAV 
the primitive Christians lived and acted, who had this 
hope : Our conversation, says he, is in heaven, from whence 
also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

That is, we are a spiritual people ; this earth is con- 
sidered by none of us as his rest — we seek not our hap- 
piness below — we consider ourselves in a state of pro- 
bation — we have an appointed time upon earth, and all 
the days of that appointed time we wait till our great, 
glorious, and final change come. For, says the apostle, 
ij/iwv to iroXirev/ia tv owpavoic vKapxu, our citizenship, with 
all the rights, immunities, and privileges which belong 
to it, are heavenly and in heaven — and the course of our 


life resembles the place to which we belong : we are spi- 
ritual in our views — spiritual in our motives — holy in 
our hearts^— righteous in our lives — enduring, as seeing 
him who is invisible : we are labouring to promote the 
welfare of our fellow-creatures — living to receive good, 
and to do good — building up ourselves on our most holy 
faith- — praying in the Holy Ghost, and keeping ourselves 
in the love of God, we are looking for the mercy of our 
Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. As his glorious 
body is the model and pattern according to which our 
bodies are to be raised; so his pure and benevolent 
heart, his holy and useful life, are the models according 
to which our hearts and conversation are to be regulated. 
As we hope to live with him in eternity, we look to 
have him to live in us here ; for we know that the con- 
science, that is not justified by his blood, and the heart 
that is not purified by his Spirit, can never be associated 
with him in his ineffable glory. 

P. S. This is but a sketch of a discourse on the sub- 
ject in the title : it might be greatly enlarged ; but as 
many points in it are discussed in various parts of the 
different discourses, in these volumes, I do not see it ne- 
cessary to enlarge on them in this place. 



Ephesians iii. 14 — 21. 

14. Tovtov x a P lv KajjnrTO) ra yovara pov irpog tov irartga tov 

TSLvplOV I'lflOJV ItjOOV Xp«770U, 

15. E£ oil iraaa iraTpia tv ovpavoig, Kai nri yrjg ovo/iaZtrai 

] 6. 'Iva dq>r) vjj.iv Kara tov ttXovtov Trig Soirjg avrov, Swa/jui 
KpaTaiiaOrjvat fiia tov Hvtv/iarog avTov, tig tov tou> av- 


17. KaroiKijtrai tov XpiaTov Sta Trig iridTtoig tv raig KapStaig 


18. Ei/ ayany tppiZutjttvoi cai TtBtfitkiwiitvoi' Iva i£,iGyvor\Ts. 

Kara\a/3£tr0ai aw iraai Toig ccywtg, ti to irXaTog, /cat 
firjKog, Kai j3a9og, Kai vipog' 

19. Tvotvcu Tt ttjv vircpflaWovaav Trig yvtaaeiag ayairriv tov 

XpidroiT iva TrXijpajQijrs eig irav to ir\»jpw//a tov Qtov' 

20. Tif> Bt Swa/iivy imp TravTa Troirjaai imp ek ntpiaaov w 

aiTov/itBa r\ voovjitv, Kara tijv Bvvajxiv ttjv tvtpyovfitviiv 
iv riniv, 

21. AxTtp r) 3o%a tv ry ticicKriaia, tv XpiaT(p Xr/aov, tig itaaag 

Tag ytvtag tov aiiavog Tiav aiiavuv. Afir]v. 

14. " For this cause, I bow my knees unto the Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, 

15. " Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 

16. " That he would grant you, according to the riches of his 
glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner 
man : 

VOL. I. N 


17. " That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ; that ye, 
being rooted and grounded in love, 

18. "Maybe able to comprehend with all saints, what is the 
breadth, and length, and depth, and height ; 

19. " And to know the love of God that passeth knowledge, that 
ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 

20. " Now, unto him who is able to do more exceeding abun- 
dantly, above all that we ask or think, according to the power that 
worketh in us, 

21. " Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, through- 
out all ages, world without end. Amen." 

This prayer of the apostle, for the church at Ephesus, 
is the most grand and sublime in the oracles of God. 
The riches of the grace of the gospel, and the extent to 
which that grace carries the salvation of the soul of man 
in this life, are most emphatically expressed in the vari- 
ous petitions of which it is composed. The prayer itself 
is an immediate inspiration from heaven ; and its differ- 
ent words, though chosen out of the richness of the in- 
comparable language in which the apostle wrote, are 
evidently inadequate to express the mighty working of 
the Divine Spirit in his mind, while making intercession 
for this church, partly by groanings which cannot be ut- 
tered ; and partly by words, which however well chosen, 
fall infinitely short of explaining the feelings of that 
eternal mercy which has provided salvation for a lost 
world : and such a salvation or deliverance from sin as 
the necessities of the soul require, and as becomes the 
majesty and benevolence of God to give. 

To such a composition, no paraphrase can do justice : 
and few commentators seem to have entered into its 
spirit ; deterred, perhaps, by the apparent difficulty of the 
subject, and the unparalleled sublimity of the language. 
After carefully weighing every expression, in order to 
ascertain the literal meaning, and the spiritual ideas to 
which this meaning refers, much must be necessarily re- 

A DISCOURSE ON EPH. III. 14 21. 273 

ferred back to that Spirit by whom these words were 
originally given, and who alone can fully explain the 
deep things of God. 

For the sake of observing order, where the subjects have 
an evident distinction, it may be necessary to consider : — . 

I. The manner in which the apostle approaches the 
Divine Majesty. 

II. The persons who are the objects of his prayer. 

III. The prayer itself, in its several petitions. And, 
IV- The doxology with which it is concluded. 

I. The manner in which the apostle approaches the 
Divine Majesty. This refers partly to the state of his 
mind, and partly to the posture of his body. 

1. The state of his mind. The apostle was now in 
prison at Rome, and did not yet know how his trials 
might issue. By external circumstances, the mind is 
ever less or more affected ; and the loss of liberty must 
be always grievous, let the sufferings induced by it be 
ever so unrighteously inflicted. It must have appeared 
to St. Paul a very strange dispensation, that he who had 
got a commission from God to preach the gospel to the 
heathen, should, by his captivity, be rendered incapable 
of performing the work which his Master had given him 
to do ! But though his body is bound, his spirit is free. 
If he could not labour in the word and doctrine for the 
conversion of the heathen, he could write for the edifica- 
tion of the churches ; if he could not preach in public, 
he could pray to his Father who saw in secret. Even in 
prison, he seemed to feel himself a free man ; his spirit 
was unsubdued, and unbroken; and although he saw 
and felt his bonds, yet he will not confess himself to be 
under the power of man ; he is not the prisoner of the 
Jews, nor the bondman of the Romans ; but Paul, the 
prisoner of the Lord. He looks through secondary causes 



to the First Cause — he knew that his enemies could not 
prevail against his liberty or his life, but by the permis- 
sion of God ; and as he permitted him to be thus tried, 
he was persuaded that his present circumstances were 
those in which he could bring most glory to his Sovereign 
and Master. His faith, his hope, his love were in full 
exercise ; and each brought forth its respective fruit in 
abundance. He had the strongest confidence in his God ; 
a vigorous and invincible love to his Redeemer, and the 
flock purchased by his blood ; and a hope that seemed to 
realize what it anticipated, that all should issue to the 
glory of God and the good of men. He had access to the 
throne of glory ; and he appeared to live, not in a Roman 
prison, but in the heavenly Jerusalem ; not on the con- 
fines even of blessedness, but within the precincts of 
heaven itself! That this statement is not too strong, 
hear his own solemn and energetic words, ver. 12, where, 
speaking of Christ Jesus the Lord, as mediator between 
God and man, he says : Ev <!> t%optv rr\v Ttapprjaiav, nai 
Ti]V irpoaayiayqv iv TrtTroiOtjirei, 3ia r»j£ 7riorfw<; avrov' 
Through whom we have this liberty of speech and this in- 
troduction, being led as by the hand to be introduced to 
the Divine Presence, with the /idlest confidence of suc- 
cess, by the faith of him. Nothing can exceed the mental 
persuasion and full confidence expressed by the apostle 
in these words. He saw God upon his throne, as his 
Father and his Lord; he is introduced to the Divine 
Presence by the only Mediator ; he lifts up his face with 
joy, for his Father smiles upon him ; he has liberty of 
speech, for his inmost soul hears, What is thy petition, 
and what is thy request, and it shall be (/ranted : in con- 
sequence, his mind has the fullest persuasion of success 
through faith in that Jesus, who, having given up his life 
a sacrifice for sin, is now the all-prevalent Mediator be- 
tween God and man. On him, as the Saviour and In- 

A DISCOURSE ON EPH. III. 14 21. 275 

tercessor, he founds all his confidence ; and through him 
he sends forth all his desires into the bosom of that 
Father of the spirits of all flesh, who is a stream of in- 
cessant benevolence to all his intelligent offspring. This 
was the apostle's state of mind ; and after considering 
it, we need not wonder at the astonishing prayer that 

2. His spirit being thus prepared and excited, how 
does it act upon his body, in bringing it forward to the 
Divine Majesty ? We already see him introduced, his 
soul full of confidence and reverence ; and being ushered 
into the presence of his King, he falls on his knees 
before him — " I bow," says he, " my knees unto the 

The posture of the body in our approaches to God, is 
not a matter of trifling importance. We should ever 
consider the immense distance that is between the Crea- 
tor and the creature in point of dignity. His nature is 
infinitely perfect; ours, indescribably imperfect. The con- 
sideration of this may well inspire awe, accompanied with 
the highest respect. But he is not only infinitely exalted 
in his own nature, but he is our King, and we are his 
subjects; he has given us his laws, and we are bound 
to obey them : we have broken these laws, and traitor- 
ously rebelled against his authority ; Ave have admitted 
another sovereign, his enemy and ours ! We have bowed 
down to his authority; and instead of living invariably to 
God's honour and glory, we have given our hearts, our 
bodies, our souls to the service of the arch-rebel, the 
chief of disorder and misrule, the dispenser of wretched- 
ness and misery ! We have sinned against God and our 
own souls ; how then shall we come before the Lord, and 
bow ourselves before the High God ? We should approach 
him as criminals do their judge ; and especially when we 
see the perdition to which we are exposed, with only one 


ray of hope penetrating the dense and insupportable 
gloom in which we are involved. "With what reverence 
and humility, with what self-abasement and godly fear, 
and with what anxiety and mental energy should we as 
criminals cry out, " Save, Lord, or we perish ! Heal our 
souls, for we have sinned against thee !" Blind and 
thoughtless, if not hardened, must that man be, who 
rushes into the presence of God, as the horse does into 
the battle ; and how little different is he who uses an 
undue familiarity with his Maker, while urging his plea 
of " God be merciful to me a sinner!" The most holy 
and devout, when approaching the divine presence, 
should never forget that they have sinned; and that 
though now they have boldness to enter into the holiest, 
it is by the blood of Jesus ! 

But there is a wide difference between the apostle and 
most common Christians. He was already reconciled to 
God, through the blood of his Son ; he was filled with 
the heavenly unction ; he was deeply taught in the school 
of Christ. He had his instructions perfected in the third 
heavens j and in consequence, he taught wisdom among 
them that were perfect. He had long and close commu- 
nion with God; and if any man might come with boldness 
to the throne of grace, it was a fortiori, the privilege ol 
the Apostle of the Gentiles. But with all his boldness of 
access, and confidence by the faith of Jesus Christ (ver. 
12\ we find him here on his knees before his heavenly 
Father. The humblest posture we can use is certainly 
•the most suitable for saint or sinner. Kneeling is that 
which is allowed to express the greatest degree of humi- 
lity, reverence, and respect. This is the posture of the 
apostle ; and this is that which every Christian should 
use in such a solemn act as prayer. I know what a pious 
prelate has said,." In prayer I will always either stand, as 
a servant, to receive my Master's commands; or kneel, as 


a subject, before my Prince." This may appear fine, and 
to express a proper distinction; I must say, I cannot 
esteem it. It is neither the doctrine of his church, noi 
of his Bible. It is a portion of Genevan practice, which 
Bishop Hall probably imbibed with several exceptionable 
parts of a Genevan creed. God's commands we receive 
in his word. When we come into his presence, it is not 
to receive his commands, but to ask mercy for the pardon 
of our sin, in breaking these commands, and to petition 
for grace to help us in time of need ; grace to enable us 
to act according to the commands which we have already 
received from his word. God says, Every knee shall low 
to me, Isai. xlv. 23; Rom. xiv. 11 ; Phil. ii. 10. Solo- 
mon kneeled on his knees, when addressing his Maker in 
behalf of the church and people of Israel, 1 Kings viii. 
54, 2 Chron. vi. 13. Ezra fell on his knees, and spread 
his hands before God, when making intercession for the 
people, Ezra ix. 5. 

Daniel kneeled on his knees three times a day, and 
prayed, Dan. vi. 10. Peter fell down at Jesus's knees, 
Luke v. 8 ; and kneeled to make prayer when he raised 
Tabitha to life, Acts ix. 40. 

Stephen kneeled down when he was stoned, praying 
the Lord Jesus to receive his spirit, Acts vii. 60. 

Paul, after his preaching at Ephesus, kneeled down and 
prayed with them all, Acts xx. 36. And" at Tyre, he 
kneeled down on the shore and prayed, Acts xxi. 5. And 
this doubtless was his common practice. And, to com- 
plete all evidence on this point, when Jesus, the Almighty 
Saviour, was in his last agony, " he kneeled down and 
prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this 
cup from me ! And being in an agony, he prayed more 
earnestly ; and the sweat was as it were great drops of 
blood falling down to the ground," Luke xxii. 41 — 44. 
After all these examples, which we may consider as so 


many precepts, should we not join with the Psalmist, and 
in all acts of social and public worship, say, " come, 
let us worship and bow down ; let us kneel before the 
Lord our Maker !" Ps. xcv. 6. 

I grant that a man may exercise the true spirit of 
prayer in any posture ; sitting, standing, or lying, when 
neither place nor opportunity can afford convenience for 
kneeling ; but I contend that, according to the Scriptures, 
in all our private and public addresses to God, we should 
kneel, as the most suitable, the most humble, and the 
most becoming posture for persons who have nothing to 
bring — possess no merit — and who have everything to 
receive from God's mere mercy. I ask, what can any 
man think of himself, who, in his addresses to God, can 
either sit on his seat, or stand in the presence of his 
Maker and his Judge ? Would he sit while addressing 
any person of a little more than ordinary respectability ? 
If he did, he would be reckoned extremely rude. Would 
he sit in the presence of the king of his own land ? This 
he would not be permitted to do. Is God then to be 
treated with less respect than a fellow-mortal ? Surely 
not. Paul thought otherwise, and bows his knees before 
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Having seen the manner in which the apostle ap- 
proached his heavenly Father, implied in the state of his 
mind, and manifested in the posture of his body ; we 
come now, — 

II. To consider the persons who were the objects of his 
prayer. They were the children of God — the family of 
the Great Father. They were the saints at Ephesus — the 
faithful in Christ Jesus, chap. i. 1. Those who had redemp- 
tion in his blood, the forgiveness of sins, ver. 7- Those 
whom, though once dead in trespasses and sins, God had 
quickened, or made alive, chap. ii. 1. So that they be- 
came fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household, 

A DISCOURSE ON EPHES. HI. 14 — 21. 279 

or domestics of God, ib. ver. 19. And they were built 
up together for a habitation of God through the Spirit, 
ib. 22. 

All these expressions show that these were genuine 
Christian believers — persons who had laid hold on the 
hope set before them in the gospel — who had been justi- 
fied freely through the redemption that was in Jesus — 
had the constant witness of God's Spirit in their souls, 
that they were quickened by the Spirit of their Head, and 
had passed from death unto life, and lived in God's 
church, as faithful domestics live in the house of their 

The religious character and spiritual state of the per- 
sons to whom the apostolic epistles are directed, should 
be carefully considered, as this often throws much light 
on the phraseology of the epistle itself; and without this 
many passages may be misapplied and misinterpreted. 
As it was to a church of God, bearing a very high spi- 
ritual character, that St. Paul sent this epistle, the peti- 
tions in the following prayer, and the terms in these 
petitions, were in every sense applicable to those who were 
in a state of grace so advanced, and who earnestly desired 
to follow on to know the Lord. 

The apostle views them as a part of the family of God, 
which he intimates consists of two vast divisions ; one 
resident in heaven, which we call the church triumphant ; 
and the other, sojourning upon earth, which we term the 
church militant. 

Now, God has but one spiritual family, these two parts 
constituting the great whole. 

As the whole of the Israeli tish church or people, though 
they consisted of twelve distinct tribes, constituted but 
one family, because those twelve tribes were the sons of 
the same father ; so, all believers in Christ Jesus, being 
children of God, and heirs of the heavenly Canaan, are 



considered as one family. They are all, as the apostle 
says, " children of God, by faith in Christ Jesus," Gal. iii. 
25. And " because they are sons, God hath sent forth the 
Spirit of his Son into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father," 
Gal. iv. 6. And they are denominated the brethren 
of Christ himself; for "He that sanctifieth, and they 
that are sanctified, are all of one ; for which cause he is 
not ashamed to call them brethren," Heb. ii. 11. Hence, 
as there is but one Father, there is but one family; 
whether the members of it be found under several names 
scattered over the earth, or, having been faithful unto 
death, and having washed their robes and made them 
white in the blood of the Lamb, have been received into 

" Far from a world of grief and sin, 
With God eternally shut in." 

The apostle does not say, " of whom the families in 
heaven and earth are named," as if each formed a distinct 
household ; but he says family, because they are all one, 
and of one. And he states, that all this family is named- — 
derives its origin and being from God, as truly as the 
twelve sons of Jacob, or the children of any other family, 
derive their name from him who is the father of the 
family. So the descendants of Jacob, surnamed Israel, 
were called Israelites ; and believers in Christ, becoming 
children of God through faith in him, are called Chris- 
tians. This may be carried much higher; for as God 
made of one blood all the nations of men to dwell on the 
face of the earth, and made but one human pair, through 
whom this blood should circulate — from which that gene- 
rative influence should proceed by which the successive 
generations of men should be propagated over tbe whole 
terraqueous globe ; so there is, properly speaking, but one 
human family, of which Adam and Eve were the proge- 


nitors, and God, the Father of the spirits of all flesh, 
the Head and Source. But the apostle evidently refers 
here more particularly to believers in Christ, who are 
children of God by adoption through grace — are made 
partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption 
that is in the world. These form the household or family 
of God, among whom he resides, and in whom he lives. 
To none others can the words of the prayer be applied, 
nor are any others capable of receiving these blessings, till 
saved as those were ; this bread is for the children — this 
" strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even 
those who by reason of use, have their senses exercised 
to discern both good and evil," Heb, v. 14 : such then are 
the objects of the apostle's prayer. 

III. We must now consider the prayer itself, in its 
several petitions. 

1. His first petition is, that they may have a great in- 
crease of spiritual strength : " That he would grant you, 
according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened 
with might by his Spirit in the inner man," ver. 16. 

Man, by his fall, is reduced to a miserable state of spi- 
ritual imbecility. And of the fall the apostle produces 
this as one of the sad consequences : "' For while we 
were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for 
the ungodly," Rom. v. 6 ; for a sinner, as such, has neither 
strength to do the will of God, nor successfully to resist 
sin. Now, as our spiritual adversaries are numerous and 
potent, we need much power to resist and overcome them : 
and as the moral law is exceedingly extensive, pure, and 
holy (and, under this law, believers are created anew in 
Christ Jesus), so we need at all times the mighty energy 
of God's Spirit, to enable us perfectly to love him, and 
worthily to magnify his name. Such strength must be 
received from God. He is the Fountain of might, and 
every energetic principle of action must be derived from 


him. There are two ways in which the soul may receive 
an increase of mental energy. 1. By considerations drawn, 
by way of encouragement, from its present circumstances 
— remembrance of past mercies, from the known goodness 
and mercy of God — from the truth of his promises, and 
his fidelity in fulfilling them. These things lead it to put 
forth the strength that it already possesses — to be a 
worker together with God — to act on the principle already 
received. This is not so much a real accession of strength, 
as a farther and better use of that which God had before 
given : yet every grace is increased by its use. 

2. The second way in which the soul may be said to be 
strengthened is, by receiving an increase of the principle 
of might, so that it may have more power to act, than it 
previously possessed. This is the thing here intended ; 
for the apostle prays that they may be strengthened with 
might, Swa/iu KparaiojOrjvai — not merely that strength or 
excitement which a person may feel, while under strong 
encouragements to act, but a fresh or additional accession 
of the principle of power ; so that he has might, not only 
to resist, but to overcome and triumph ; power, not only 
to wish and desire to give God his whole heart, and labour 
against the strong man armed, who, though he is not 
able to overcome the upright man, yet often brings down 
his strength in the day of battle, — but that might by which 
sin is dethroned, by which the adversary is not only 
chained, but cast out, and his goods spoiled. In a word, 
that might, by which he is enabled to love God with all 
his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with 
all his strength, and his neighbour as himself. Thus, he 
has written on his heart the two great commandments of 
the law, on which hang all the law and the prophets. 

Now as might always implies an agent in which it 
resides, and from which it is put forth, the apostle shows 
us here, that the might he prays for comes from the 

A DISCOURSE ON EPHES. III. 14 — 21. 283 

Spirit of God, not merely a spiritual might communicated, 
but might proceeding from its Fountain and Source ; not 
by distant streams and emanations, but from the Holy 
Spirit itself dwelling in the soul: "That ye may be 
strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man ;" 
and thus we find the might to proceed from the indwell- 
ing Spirit ; a might that works not merely in some parti- 
cular mental faculty, but the inner man — the man within 
us, that is, the soul, in all its powers and faculties. 
Every man is a compound being — he has a body and a 
soul. The outward man is that alone which is seen, and 
considered by men ; the inner man is that which stands 
particularly in reference to God and eternity. The out- 
ward man is strengthened by earthly food, by air, exer- 
cise, &c. ; the inner man by spiritual and heavenly in- 
fluence; knowledge, love, peace, and holiness, are the 
food of the inward man; or rather Jesus Christ, that 
Bread of life that came down from heaven ; he that eateth 
this Bread, shall live and be strengthened by it. The 
soul is as truly fed, sustained, and nourished by heavenly 
food, as the body is by the earthly aliment suited to its 
nature. And the Holy Spirit of God must ever live in 
it, to afford it that nourishment which is to produce the 
might by which it is to be strengthened. 

The apostle prays that this might may be given accord- 
ing to the riches of God's glory. The measure that man 
uses in speaking of and recommending the salvation of 
God, is like himself, narrow and scanty. In these things 
man seldom has that liberal heart that deviseth liberal 
things. It is the study of the major part of the Christian 
world, to find out with how little grace they may escape 
hell, and get to heaven ; the doctrine of entire holiness 
is their abhorrence — they fear nothing so much as to be 
persuaded that they may be saved from all sin in this 
life : but God's thoughts are not as our thoughts ; we are 


not straitened in him, but in our own bowels. The 
apostle, who stood in the full liberty of the children of 
God, well knowing that he saves to the uttermost, prays 
that the Ephesians may receive that might, according to 
the riches of God's glory— according to the measure of his 
eternal fulness ; God's infinite mercy and goodness being 
the measure according to which we are to be saved. In 
giving alms it is a generally received maxim, that every 
man should give according to his ability, and the necessi- 
ties of the supplicant. It would be a disgrace to a king 
or a nobleman to give no more than a mechanic or a pea- 
sant. God acts up to the dignity of his infinite perfec- 
tions, he gives liberally — he gives according to the riches 
of his glory ;' i. e., all that the necessities of his creature 
require. The supply is as great as the want — open thy 
mouth wide, and I will fill it. Let us not cease praying 
for the bounty till God withholds bis hand. 

We should remember that we have many enemies, 
cunning and strong ; many trials, too great for our natural 
strength ; many temptations, which no human power is 
able successfully to resist ; many duties to perform, which 
cannot be accomplished by the strength of man ; there- 
fore we need divine strength ; we must have might, and 
we must be strengthened everywhere, and be everyway 
fortified by that might ; i. e., we must be mightily and 
most effectually fortified by the energy of the Holy 
Spirit. This is according to the riches of his glory ; and 
he is glorified in dealing out such riches. And let us 
remember^ that what we receive is a free gift from God 
— it is his grant; and it is his grant through Christ 
Jesus. We come, therefore, not to receive a debt, but a 
gift ; a gift to us, though purchased by the blood of the 

2. The second petition is, That Christ may dwell in 
their hearts by faith. In this, as well as in chap. ii. 21, 


and in several other passages, the apostle compares the 
body or church of true believers to a temple, which, 
like that of Solomon, is built up for a habitation of God 
through the Spirit. Here, as Solomon did at the dedi- 
cation of the temple at Jerusalem, 2 Chron. vi. 1, &c, 
Paul, having considered the Church at Ephesus com- 
pletely formed, as to every external thing, with all the 
rudiments of every gift and grace, prays that God may 
come down and dwell in it. He may be considered as 
now dedicating the Christian church, that then was, and 
that ever should be, to God, and praying for those bless- 
ings which should ever rest on and distinguish it ; and, 
having knelt down after the example of Solomon, he 
invokes him, to whom the first temple was dedicated, 
and who had made it a type of the Christian church, to 
come down, and fill it with his presence. And as there 
could be no indwelling of God but by Christ, and no 
indwelling of Christ but by faith, he prays that they 
may have such faith in Christ as shall keep them in 
the constant possession of his presence and love. God, 
in the beginning, made man to be his living temple ; and 
while in a state of innocence and purity, he inhabited 
this temple ; and when the temple became defiled, he 
left it. In the order of his eternal mercy, Christ, the 
repairer of the breach, comes to purify the temple, that 
it may again become a fit habitation for the God of glory. 
This is what the apostle points out to the believing Ephe- 
sians, when praying that Christ might dwell, KaroiKtiuai, 
might intensely and constantly dwell in their hearts by 
faith : for that man's heart which is not God's house, 
must be a hold of every foul and unclean spirit; for 
Satan and his angels will endeavour to fill, what God 
does not. We have already seen that Christ does not 
dwell in the heart but by faith; that faith which re- 
ceives him as the Saviour of the world, and the Saviour 


of the soul ; the faith that receives him as Jesus, who 
is to save his people from their sins ; for he came to put 
away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and to reconcile us 
to God by his incarnation and sacrificial death. On his 
constant indwelling all our happiness and holiness de- 
pend ; and on this indwelling the following blessings are 
to be founded. 

3. Thirdly, he prays that they may he rooted and 
grounded in love, ev aycnry ippiZ,d>fitvoi Kai TtQifitXnofitvoi. 
Here is a double metaphor, — one taken from agriculture, 
the other from architecture. As trees of God's right- 
hand planting, they are to be rooted in love; this is the 
soil in which alone the Christian soul can grow. Into 
the infinite love of God their souls were to strike their 
roots; and from this love derive all that nourishment 
which is essential to their full growth ; till they have 
arrived to their fulness of vigour, and by the genuine light 
and heat of the Sun of righteousness, have their juices 
all properly concocted and dulcified, so that they may 
have the mind in them that was in Jesus ; and, as it is 
said below, till they are filled with the fulness of God. 
Sour godliness is not of Christ; but all fruit must be 
acid till ripened by the sun. Their leaves, their blossom, 
their fruit must spring from this love. A healthy leaf 
is indicative of a healthy blossom ; a healthy blossom is 
the forerunner of a healthy fruit ; and a mature and 
wholesome fruit answers the expectation of the planter. 
It is the will of Christ that his followers should bear 
much fruit and that this fruit should remain ; for " every 
tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn 
down, and cast into the fire." 

As a building, their foundation is to be laid in this 
love. " God so loved the world that he gave his only- 
begotten Son, that they who believe in him should not 
perish, but have everlasting life." Here is the ground 

A DISCOURSE ON EPHES. III. 14 — 21. 287 

on which alone the soul and all its hopes and expecta- 
tions can he safely founded. This foundation cannot be 
shaken ; and it is from this alone that the doctrine of 
redemption flows to man, and from this alone has the 
soul its form and comeliness. In this love, as its proper 
soil, it grows; on this, as its only foundation, it rests. 
These two expressions are often used proverbially, to 
signify a complete acquisition of some science or point 
of knowledge ; so as to know both the theory and prac- 
tice, the principles and the proper mode of application. 
So, to be rooted and grounded in love, is to know it 
thoroughly, to possess it wholly; to know its nature, to 
feel its power, and to bring forth its fruits. 

4. Fourthly, the apostle prays that they may have a 
vast increase of saving practical knowledge. " That ye 
may be able to comprehend, with all saints, what is the 
breadth, and length, and depth, and height," ver. 18. 
The words 'Iva ttiaxvorjTi Kara\a(3eo0at., which we trans- 
late, that ye may be able to comprehend, are so exceedingly 
nervous, and full of meaning, that it is almost impos- 
sible to translate them. The first word, ttiaxvarjre, from 
e£, intensive, and taxvo, to be strong, signifies that they 
might be thoroughly able, having been strengthened with 
might by God's power. The second word, KaTa.\aj3ea9ai, 
from Kara, intensive, and \afi/3avo>, to take, catch, or seize 
on, may be translated, that ye may fully catch, take in, 
and comprehend this wonderful mystery of God. For it 
requires a considerable preparation of the mind, by such 
impressive teaching as the Spirit of God furnishes, to 
render the soul apt to take in and comprehend these 
deep things of God. These are subjects that the carnal 
mind cannot comprehend — they are spiritually known 
and discerned ; and God alone can strengthen the human 
intellect to conceive and duly apprehend them. " What 
is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height." Here 


the apostle still keeps up the metaphor, comparing the 
church of God to a building. And, as in order to rear 
a proper building constructed on scientific principles, a 
ground plan and specification must be previously made, 
according to which the building is to be formed, the 
apostle refers to this; and such plan and specification 
must be thoroughly understood, before such a building 
can be erected. These believers were to be builded up 
a heavenly house, a habitation of God through the Spirit ; 
and this must have its latitude or breadth, its longitude 
or length, its altitude or height, and its profundity or 
depth. These things are easily understood when spoken 
of a material building ; but what can he mean when he 
speaks of the breadth, length, depth, and height of the 
love of God ? Imagination can scarcely fancy any satis- 
factory mode of answering such a question. Let us, 
however, try what help a literal examination of these 
terms may afford. These four terms take in everything 
relative to the dimension and computation of all solids 
or bodies. Nothing more can be said of any substance. 
It has either length, without breadth or depth ; or it has 
length and breadth, without thickness ; or it has all these, 
length, breadth, and thickness. A mathematical point has 
neither length, breadth, nor thickness. A mathematical 
line has length, without breadth or thickness. And a 
simple surface may be said to have length and breadth, 
without thickness. Depth and height are properly the 
same as thickness ; but the former apply to the situation 
of a body, particularly a building, signifying how deep the 
foundation goes below the surface of the ground on which 
the building appears to stand, and how high it reaches 
vertically above that surface. If we hold, for example, 
a razor in a horizontal direction before our eyes, we can 
discern the edge as a line, to which we can assign 
neither breadth nor thickness. Hold the side of this 


instrument in the same direction, and we can see a sur- 
face or breadth, to which we can assign length and 
breadth, but we can perceive no thickness or depth. 
Turn the back of the instrument to the eye in the same 
direction, and we can see the thickness, taken in opposi- 
tion to the edge, where we could perceive length only. 
This rude example may be sufficient to give some satis- 
factory idea of these things to inexperienced minds. 
These terms, then, of breadth, length, depth, and height, 
express the whole affections or essential properties of 
matter. No body or solid can have more than the three 
dimensions of length, breadth, and thickness ; for height 
and depth are only relative terms to express depth, as 
we have seen before. 

Now, as these three terms express all the possible 
dimensions of matter ; when applied metaphorically to 
any subject, accident, or thing, of a moral or spiritual 
nature, they must signify the whole of that thing, either 
in respect to its nature, its properties, or its influence — 
and these, as far as they are knowable, perceptible, or 
communicable. Hence, the breadth, length, depth, and 
height of the love of God, signify the whole love of God 
in its manifestations, operations, and effects. They mean 
the love that sent Jesus into the world — the love that 
caused him to taste death for every man — the love com- 
municated to the soul of man, and that destroys the 
hatred or enmity of the carnal mind; in a word, the 
love which renders all that receive it unutterably happy 
in God, and obedient even unto death — the principle 
that produces all the moral good that is in the world, and 
that alone through which the Christian Church has been 
illustrated by martyrs. God is Love ; and in this an 
infinity of breadth, length, depth, and height is included 
or rather, all breadth, length, depth, and height are lost 
in this immensity. It comprehends all that is above, all 
that is below ; all that is present, all that is past, and all 


that is to come. In reference to human beings, the love 
of God in its breadth is a girdle that encompasses the 
globe, or a mantle in which it is wrapped up. Its length 
reaches from the eternal purpose of the mission of Christ 
to the eternity of blessedness which is to be enjoyed by 
the pure in heart, in his ineffable glories. Its depth 
reaches to the lowest fallen of the sons of Adam, and 
to the deepest depravity of the human heart ; and its 
height, to the infinite dignities of the throne of Christ. 
" To him that overcometh will I give to sit down with 
me upon my throne ; as I have overcome, and sat down 
with the Father upon the Fathers throne." Thus we 
see that the Father, the Son, and all true believers in 
him, are to be seated on the same throne ! This is the 
height of the love of God; and the height to which 
that love raises the souls that believe in Jesus ! This 
love, in all these dimensions, is to be comprehended, 
laid hold on, and possessed by all those who are faithful 
unto death. They experience its influence, prove its 
efficacy, and enjoy its blessedness through that duration 
that can never terminate ! thou infinite and ineffable 
Being ! what can the children of men render unto thee 
for all thy benefits ! In the presence of this subject we 
see a consistency in the apparently contradictory words 
of the poet : — 

" Through all eternity to Thee, a joyful song we'll raise : 
But oh, eternity's too short, to utter all Thy praise." 

" Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed 
upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! 
Beloved, now are we the sons of God ; and it doth not 
yet appear what we shall be ; but we know that, when 
he doth appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see 
him as he is." Well might both the prophet and apostle 
exclaim, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither 
have entered into the heart of man, the things which 


God hath prepared for them that love him ;" Isai. lxiv. 
4 ; 1 Cor. ii. 9. 

5. Fifthly. Having spoken of the salvation of God, 
and prayed that they might be able to comprehend its 
breadth, length, depth, and height, he prays here, ver. 
19, "that they may know the love of Christ which 
passeth knowledge." 

God's love is manifested in giving his Son Jesus Christ 
to die for a lost world ; Christ's love is manifested in 
his humiliation, taking our nature upon him, suffering 
and dying in our stead, taking human nature in its first- 
fruits into heaven, and ever appearing in the presence of 
God for us. It is only by the love of Christ that we 
can know the love of God. The love of God to man 
induced him to give Christ for his redemption ; Christ's 
love to man induced him to give his life's blood a ransom 
for his salvation. The gift of Christ to man is the 
measure of God's love ; the death of Christ for man is 
measure of Christ's love. "God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only-begotten Son" — " Christ loved us, 
and gave himself for us." 

But it may be asked, How can the love of Christ that 
passeth knowledge be known? Many have puzzled 
themselves with this question without real cause. There 
are two methods of solving it, at once both scriptural 
and rational. If we take the verb yivwo-Kw, / know, in 
the sense in which it is frequently used in the New 
Testament, to signify, I acknowledge, I approve, I ac- 
knowledge with approbation j and the noun yvwoig, know- 
ledge, to signify comprehension, then the principal diffi- 
culty will be removed. "That ye may acknowledge, 
approve, and publicly acknowledge that love of Christ 
which surpasseth knowledge." We can acknowledge 
and approve of that which may surpass our comprehen- 
sion. We cannot comprehend God ; yet we know that 


he is ; approve of, love, adore, and serve him. In like 
manner, though we cannot comprehend the immensity 
of the love of Christ, yet we know that he has loved us, 
and washed us from our sins in his own blood ; and we 
approve of and acknowledge him as our only Lord and 
Saviour. In this sense we may very justly he said to 
know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. 

But although this he a very satisfactory solution, 
yet it is most probable that the word yvbtmg, which we 
translate knowledge, signifies here science in general ; and 
particularly that science in which the rabbins boasted, 
and that in which the Greeks greatly exulted. The 
former professed to have the key of knowledge, the 
secret of all divine mysteries. The latter considered 
their philosophers, and their systems of philosophy, 
superior to everything that had ever been known among 
men ; and on this account reputed all other nations bar- 
barians. They seem to have used the words yvuxrig, 
knowledge, and ao<j>m, wisdom, as we do the word hu- 
manities, for a complete system of academical educa 
tion; for a thorough knowledge of all that their phi- 
losophers taught relative to learning in general, but 
particularly in reference to the Supreme Good. "When 
the apostle prays that the Ephesians may know the lorn 
of Christ which passeth knowledge, he may refer to all 
the boasted knowledge of the Jewish doctors, and to all 
the greatly-extolled science of the Greek philosophers. 
For to know, to understand, and experimentally feel the 
love of Christ, in point of satisfaction to the mind, and 
gratification to the soul, infinitely surpasses all other 
science ; and especially that among the Greeks, so far- 
famed, so loudly boasted, to which he seems here more 
particularly to refer. This love should be acknowledged, 
both in private and public, as that only which can make 
men happy, holy, and useful; that alone which is the 


sum and substance of all divine and useful knowledge ; 
and without which all knowledge, wisdom, and learning 
are of no vital and lasting importance to the human 
soul. The Jews may require a sign, and the Greeks 
seek after wisdom ; but the love of Christ, which in- 
duced him to take our nature upon him, and suffer 
death in our stead, infinitely surpasses them all : and to 
know this experimentally as far exceeds, in true profit 
and blessedness, all human knowledge, whether in lan- 
guages, sciences, or arts, as the attainments of an angel 
are superior to those of an ape. 

The public acknowledgment of this love of Christ was 
required from every Christian convert ; and this was 
made by every adult in coming to baptism. And it was 
from this public acknowledgment that we have had con- 
fessors and martyrs in the Christian church. To be 
able to make such an acknowledgment was a full proof 
of the sincerity of the convert, and of the power of 
that grace which, through Christ crucified, he had re- 

6. The apostle concludes his prayer with, " That ye 
might be filled with all the fulness of God," ver. 19. 
Iva irXijpiaOriTe ng irav to irXypupa rov Osov. Among all 
the great sayings in this prayer, this is the greatest. To 
be Jilted with God is a great thing ; to be filled with the 
fulness of God is still greater ; to be filled with all the 
fulness of God is greatest of all. This utterly bewilders 
the sense, and confounds the understanding, by leading 
us at once to consider the immensity of God, the infini- 
tude of his attributes, and the absolute perfection of 
each ! But there must be a sense in which even this 
wonderful petition was understood by the apostle, and 
may be comprehended by us ; as we have already found 
one, in which the love of Christ that passeth knowledge 
may be comprehended by genuine believers. 


Most people, in quoting these words, endeavour to 
correct or explain the apostle, by adding the word com- 
municable. But this is as idle as it is useless and im- 
pertinent. Reason surely tells us, that St. Paul would 
not pray that they should be filled with what could not 
be communicated. The apostle certainly meant what 
he said, and would be understood in his own meaning ; 
and we may soon see what this meaning is. 

By the fulness of God we are to understand all the 
gifts and graces which he has promised to bestow on 
man, in order to his full salvation here, and his being 
fully prepared for the enjoyment of glory hereafter. To 
be filled with all the fulness of God is to have the heart 
emptied of and cleansed from all sin and defilement, 
and filled with humility, meekness, gentleness, goodness, 
justice, holiness, mercy, and truth, and love to God and 
man. And that this implies a thorough emptying of 
the soul of everything that is not of God, and leads not 
to him, is evident from this, that what God fills, neither 
sin nor Satan can fill, nor in anywise occupy. For if a 
vessel be filled with one fluid or substance, not a drop 
or particle of any other kind can enter it, without dis- 
placing the same quantum of the original matter as that 
which is afterwards introduced. God cannot be said to 
fill the whole soul, while any place, part, passion, or 
faculty is filled, or less or more occupied, by sin or 
Satan ; and as neither sin nor Satan can be where God 
fills and occupies the whole, so the terms of the prayer 
state, that Satan shall neither have any dominion over 
that soul, nor being in it. A fulness of humility pre- 
cludes all pride — of meekness, precludes anger — of gen- 
tleness, all ferocity — of goodness, all evil — of justice, 
all injustice — of holiness, all sin — of mercy, all unkind- 
ness and revenge — of truth, all falsity and dissimulation ; 
and where God is loved with all the heart, soul, mind, 


and strength, there is no room for enmity or hatred to 
him, or anything connected with him : so, where a man 
loves his neighbour as himself, no ill shall be worked to 
that neighbour ; but, on the contrary, every kind affection 
will exist towards him, and every kind action, as far as 
power and circumstances can permit, will be done to 
him. Thus, being filled with God's fulness will produce 
constant, pious, and affectionate obedience to him, and 
unvarying benevolence towards one's neighbour, i. e., 
any man, any and every human being. Such a man is 
saved from all sin ; the law is fulfilled in him ; and he 
ever possesses and acts under the influence of that love 
to God and man, which is the fulfilling of the law. 

It is impossible, with any scriptural or rational con- 
sistency, to understand these words in any lower sense ; 
but how much more they imply (and more they do 
imply), who can tell ? 

As there is no end to the merits of Christ incarnated 
and crucified, no bounds to the mercy and love of God, 
no let nor hinderance to the almighty energy and sanc- 
tifying influence of the Holy Spirit, no limits to the 
unprovability of the human soul; so there can be no 
bounds to the saving influence which God will dispense 
to the heart of every genuine believer. "We ma} r ask 
and receive, and our joy shall be full ! "Well may we 
bless and praise God, " who has called us into such a 
state of salvation;" a state in which we may be thus 
saved, and by the grace of that state continue in the 
same to the end of our lives. 

As sin is the cause of the ruin of mankind, the gospel 
system, which exhibits its cure, is fitly called good news 
or glad tidings ; and it is good news, because it proclaims 
him who saves his people from their sins : and it would 
indeed be dishonourable to that grace, and the infinite 
merit of him who procured it, to suppose, much more to 

vol. i. o 


assert, that sin had made wounds which it would not 
heal. Of such a triumph, Satan shall ever be deprived. 

IV. The Doxology. — Now unto him. The apostle, 
having finished his short but most wonderfully compre- 
hensive and energetic prayer, brings in his doxohgy, or 
form of praise ; giving thanks to him from whom all 
blessings come, and to whom all praises are due. 

There is a dignity here in the use of the -pronoun in- 
stead of the noun — him. There is a similar mode of 
expression in the conclusion of the Epistle to the Ro- 
mans, chap. xvi. 25, " Now to him that is of power to 
stablish you;" and in the conclusion of the Epistle of 
Jude, ver. 24, " Now unto him that is able to keep you 
from falling," &c. So here, " Now unto him that is 
able to do exceeding abundantly, above all we ask or 
think." He does not say, Unto the Lord, unto God, 
unto the Creator, &c. ; but Avry, to him — that Being of 
beings — that Cause of all causes — that eternal Fountain 
of all perfection and excellence — that Source of innate, 
eternal goodness ; or, as Cicero in one place expresses 
it, illud inexprimahile, that Ineffable Entity, which no 
name, no attribute can worthily define or express. That 
Being of whom the apostle had already said so much, 
to whom he had prayed for so much, and who was 
able to do all that he had asked for, and infinitely more ; 
unto this Being alone endless praises are due, and to 
him alone they shall be for ever ascribed. In every 
approach to the majesty of God, we should endeavour to 
conceive aright of his nature, and of our obligations to 
him. The apostle elsewhere tells us that he is a con- 
suming fire, and commands us to worship him with 
reverence and godly fear ; and it is only through hu 
incomprehensible goodness that we are permitted to ap- 
proach his throne. See what has been said on ver. 14. 
"We should also have a becoming sense of our obligatior 


to him : praise springs from gratitude ; gratitude, from a 
sense of obligation ; obligation, from a sense of benefits 
received; and this sense of benefits received will be in 
proportion to the magnitude of the benefits, and the 
sense we have of our own unworthiness. But to return 
to the doxology itself. 

Having considered the magnitude of the benefits 
which he asks of God in behalf of the believers at 
Ephesus, he is led to view him in his unlimited power, 
that he may appear to be justified in the extensive peti- 
tions he has made. Who can overthrow the power of 
sin but God ? 

Who can pardon its guilt but God ? 

Who can cleanse the human heart from all unright- 
eousness but God ? 

Who can raise a body that is dead because of sin 
from death and corruption, but God ? 

Who can endue it with immortality, unite it to its 
proper spirit, but God ? 

And who can bring both to his own everlasting glory, 
there to dwell eternally, but God ? 

And what Being can do all these things but Him who 
possesses almightiness, or unlimited power ? 

The apostle meets all such inquiries as these with, 
Unto him who is able. Can your God do all these 
things? Yes, says the apostle, these and more — mora 
abundantly than all these — yea, above all that we can ask 
or think. This at once settles every objection, silences 
all doubt, and prepares the soul to meet and claim the 
promises with strong and implicit faith. 

When the two blind men came to Jesus, in order to 
be restored to sight, he saw the necessity of asking them, 
Believe ye that I am able to do this, Matt. ix. 28. Even 
God puts not forth his strength to work such miracles 
of grace, till faith has received a full conviction of his 

o 2 


ability to do them. Let any man search his own heart, 
and he will find that„ although in a general way, he 
believes that God is almighty, yet he entertains many 
doubts relative to his ability to do these works, especially 
to cleanse the soul from all sin in this life; most men 
believe it to be morally impossible. And hence, what- 
ever may be the promises of God, it has become an 
article in most creeds, that " no man can be saved from 
all sin on this side death and the grave." In reference 
to this point, let us consider the subject of God's po- 

Every attribute of God is equal. Each is infinite, 
eternal, unoriginated, and without bound or limit. Such 
is the potency of God : it can do all things that do not 
imply absurdity or contradiction ; it can do anything, in 
any way it pleases; and it can do anything when it 
pleases ; and it will do anything that is necessary to be 
done, and should be done, when it ought to be done, 
and when the doing of it will most manifest his own 
glory ; and his glory is chiefly manifested in promoting 
the happiness and saving the souls of men. These 
positions are self-evident, and have their reason in the 
perfections, and, especially in reference to us, in the 
goodness of the divine nature. 

It is granted, that sin has a mighty power ; and that 
Satan, who arms himself with the vile affections of man, 
and rules in the uncleanness of the heart, has a mighty 
power also. But what is power, howsoever great, how- 
soever malevolent, howsoever well circumstanced, to ac- 
complish the purposes of its malevolence, when opposed 
by infinite potency ? All power must originally emanate 
from God. Power, in the above sense, must be lodged 
in and be exercised by some intelligent being. Now 
all such beings, as well as others, must be dependant on 
him who is the Fountain whence they were derived. 

A DISCOURSE ON EPHES. III. 14 — 21. 299 

Hence they can neither exist nor act but as he wills or 
permits ; and hence it is evident he can at any time 
counteract, or suspend, or destroy all exertions of all 
finite beings. Therefore be the power of sin and Satan 
what it may, this can be no objection against the de- 
struction of sin in the heart of man. He is able to do 
this. And if it be to his glory as God ; if it be to the 
glory of his grace as Saviour ; if it be to the perfection 
and happiness of his intelligent creature; if he have 
made it the duty of that creature to be or do at all times 
what he can neither be nor do while his heart is sinful — 
and none but God himself can remove and destroy that 
sinfulness; — hence we powerfully infer, that God will 
do this thing, if that intelligent creature apply to him as 
commanded by him who is able to save to the uttermost, 
i. e., in every degree, and in all times. Now, God has 
commanded men to be at all times holy as he is holy. 
At all times, to love him with all their heart, soul, mind, 
and strength — to give him their hearts — to worship him 
in the beauty of holiness ; and to do his will on earth 
as it is done in heaven. And does he not know, that 
all these are utterly impossible to man while under the 
power, guilt, and pollution of sin ? If, then, it be their 
duty to be and do all that is mentioned above (and who 
will deny this ?), then it must be his will to break the 
power, pardon the guilt, and cleanse the heart from the 
infection of sin. And if it be his will, his power can 
execute the purpose of that will, and his goodness, from 
which springs this will, will induce him to exert his 
power that the thing may be done, and the creature be 
restored to the image of God, in which he was originally 
created, and from which he has fallen. For this very 
end, Jesus Christ came into the world : he was mani- 
fested that he might take away our sins — that he might 
destroy the works of the devil — that he might deliver us 


out of the hands of our enemies, so that we might serve 
him in righteousness and true holiness, without fear, 
before him all the days of our life. In a word, that we 
might be emptied and cleansed from all sin, and be filled 
with all the fulness of God. 

This will appear still more evident from the following 
words: He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all 
— iravTO. iroirjoai imp tKirtpiaaov — words similar to some 
which we have already met with in this prayer ; words 
that cannot be translated but by periphrasis. God is 
omnipotent, therefore he is able to do all things ; and 
superabundantly, — above the greatest abundance (and 
who can doubt this, who has any rational or scriptural 
views of his power and his lore ?) — above all that we ask 
or think. This refers to the knowledge we have of our 
wants, and the desire we feel to have them supplied. 
When on the conviction that our hearts are deceitful 
and desperately wicked (and what heart is otherwise till 
God cleanse it ?) we think, deeply reflect on our state ; 
and by thinking and reflecting, see the provision that 
God has made for our salvation ; then we shall ask the 
blessings we need, in proportion to the evidence we have 
of the willingness and ability of God to supply these 
wants. Now what does all this imply ? 

"We can ask every good of which we have heard ; every 
good that God has promised in his word ; and we can 
think of and imagine goods and blessings beyond all 
that we have either seen, heard, or read of : yea, we can 
imagine good things and enjoyments to which it is im- 
possible for us to give a name ; we can go beyond the 
limits of all human descriptions ; we can imagine more 
than even God himself has specified in his word ; and 
can feel no bounds to our imagination of good, but im- 
possibility and eternity ! And after all, God is able to do 
more exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or 

A DISCOURSE ON EPHES. III. 14 — 21. 301 

think — and his ability here is so necessarily connected 
with his willingness, that the one indisputably implies 
the other : for of what consequence would it be to tell 
the church of God that he had power to do so and so, 
if there were not implied an assurance that he will do 
what his power can do, and what the soul of man needs 
to have done ? 

To make this more impressive, and to excite the greater 
confidence, the apostle adds, according to the power that 
WOrketh in US, Kara tijv dvvafi.iv, Tr\v ev£pyov[itvr)v tv yfiiv. 
As if he had said, " All that he can do, and all that he 
has promised to do, will be done according to what he 
has already done by that power, which strongly — with 
great energy, worketh in us." This power acts with 
energy in our hearts, expelling evil, purifying and re- 
fining the affections and desires, and implanting heavenly 
dispositions — transfusing its own divine nature through 
our souls in proportion as we credit the promises, shake 
ourselves from the dust, take up our cross, abstain from 
every appearance of evil, and exercise the grace we have 
already received. Let no man expect more grace, who 
is not using that which has already been conferred upon 
him ; and let none expect that God will purify his heart, 
while he is knowingly indulging any of its evil propen- 
sities. When first convinced of sin, we hated and fled 
from it, and sought God in every means of grace : no- 
thing could satisfy our souls . but a sense of God's par- 
doning mercy through Christ : we sought, and we found. 
Now, according as God then worked in us, and we were 
workers together with him, so will he work, and we by 
faith must work with him in the purification of our souls. 
By faith and prayer we work to receive good; by his 
almighty energy, he works in us to destroy evil. We 
know how we were brought to the knowledge of God 
through Christ ; we had forgiveness through his blood ; 


this was applied to our souls by his Spirit : it is the same 
blood that cleanses from all sin — and its efficacy is ap- 
plied by the same Spirit. We were justified by faith, 
we are to be sanctified through the same ; — this was the 
way in which he saved of old ; whether Jews or Gentiles, 
he put no difference, purifying their hearts by faith, and 
giving them the Holy Ghost. 

Unto him be glory in the church — The apostle, having 
pointed out this Supreme Being as possessed of unli- 
mited power and goodness, ever disposed to give more 
than we can desire or deserve, ascribes to him that ho- 
nour which to him alone is due. 

To him be glory. — The word Ao£a, which the apostle 
uses here and in many other places of his epistles, is 
difficult to explain ; but we see at once, that it must im- 
ply such acknowledgments of the power, holiness, justice, 
mercy, truth, and goodness of the Divine Being, as are 
at once indicative and expressive of his infinite excel- 
lencies, our dependance upon him as the only source of 
perfection and goodness, and our gratitude to him for 
the benefits we have already received. The word Solatia 
signifies to make luminous, illustrious, splendid, eminent, 
glorious, &c. Hence a circle of rays round the head is 
called a glory, i. e., splendour, intense brightness, &c. 
Now we may be said to give glory to God, when we ex- 
hibit in the clearest light, and in the most impressive 
manner we can, the various excellencies of our God and 
Father ; and when we do this so that by our example 
others are led to esteem, adore, and put their trust in 
him ; we glorify him by showing forth the glory of his 
various attributes — telling forth how effectually he 
teaches, how powerfully he upholds, how mercifully he 
saves ; and how kindly he supplies all our wants, suc- 
cours us in distress, stands by us in difficulties, defends 
us in dangers, guides us by his counsel, and promises 


at last to receive us into his endless glory. By recol- 
lecting these things, we may be said to excite our own 
gratitude towards him ; and thus encourage ourselves to 
trust more in him, to love him more reverently, and 
serve him more faithfully. This glory the apostle orders 
to be given in the church, that is, in the assemblies of 
true believers ; of those who have felt the mighty work- 
ings of his Spirit — who know the grace of God in truth. 
They who have tasted the goodness of God can best 
estimate that goodness — they in whose hearts Christ 
dwells by faith, can best praise him for pardoning 
mercy and sanctifying grace. In the church, God 
should be glorified ; and it is not by what is generally 
termed singing his praise, and to his glory (which, by the 
way, is very seldom done by those who make a profes- 
sion of doing it) ; but by speaking of his work on the 
souls of men ; proclaiming his doings among the people, 
making mention that his name is exalted. God re- 
ceives most glory in those churches or Christian assem- 
blies, where the fulness, freeness, and universality of his 
salvation are held forth ; where his grace that bringeth 
salvation to all men is exhibited ; and where a complete 
redemption from all sin in this life (like that pointed out 
by the apostle in the preceding verse) is explained, illus- 
trated, defended, and pressed home by powerful exhorta- 
tion on the souls of the people. How little glory does 
God get from those who exhibit his sovereignty, to the 
utter discredit of his justice, mercy, and love — who in- 
form the world " that he is more glorified by saving two 
than by saving ten thousand ; that he beholds a very 
small few with everlasting love, and so infallibly pro- 
vides for their salvation, while he beholds millions of 
millions with an eternal aversion and hatred, dooming 
them, while unborn, to everlasting perdition, without 
ever furnishing theni with the slightest means of escape." 

o 3 


Let such know that God is as sovereign in his mercy 
as in his justice ; that hatred to man exists not in him ; 
and that he is a sovereign everlasting Fountain of love 
and compassion to every human soul ; that through this 
he gave his son Jesus to die for the sin of the world; 
who, in that dying, tasted death for every man ; and 
let such learn (for it appears they know it not) that his 
hlood cleanseth from all unrighteousness. 

In these things God is glorified; — in the churches, 
where these truths are exhibited, God is honoured. In 
such displays of God and his works, all his attributes 
blaze forth in full splendour and harmony ; while on 
the opposite system, one excellence is wounded by an- 
other ; justice and mercy never meeting together — right- 
eousness and peace never kissing each other. I refer 
here principally to that horrible caricature of the Sove- 
reignty of God, by Elisha Coles — a work which has 
made several Socinians and Deists, but never yet one 
genuine Christian, Such a work can draw no man to 
God, but may well affright many from him. See Mr. 
Sellon's answer to him. 

But this glory is to be offered in the church by Christ 
Jesus. This may be easily understood; for it is by 
Christ Jesus that the glory of God has been revealed 
to the world. By him the worlds were made ; by him 
man was redeemed ; through him God meets with, visits, 
and saves man ; in him was God the Father reconciling 
the world to himself; and in him dwelt all the fulness 
of the Godhead bodily. For him, and by him, and 
through him are all things ; he is the only Mediator be- 
tween God and man. Through him alone can we ap- 
proach to God, and through him alone will God receive 
our prayers and praises. He that cometh unto the Fa- 
ther through him, shall in no wise be cast out. 

This saving of man by Christ, and bringing glory to 


God through him, is not to be a limited or transient 
work. The patriarchal system lasted only about two 
thousand years ; the Mosaic system belonged principally 
to the Jews, and was to be in force only till the Mes- 
siah should come, and then to give place to the Christian 
dispensation; — this having lasted about two thousand 
years more, it was abrogated also ; but the Christian sys- 
tem is to endure throughout all ages — eig vaaag rat- 
ytvtag, through all succeeding generations ; that is, while 
the race of human beings continues to exist on the 
face of the earth. The patriarchal dispensation was 
initial and imperfect ; the Mosaic dispensation was typical 
and representative ; the Christian dispensation was the 
complement or perfection of the whole : hence it is 
to last for ever. Being perfect, it needs no addition; 
being the completion of all that preceded, and the fulfil- 
ment of all that was promised — and all was promised 
that man needed for his present and eternal happiness — 
it is to be succeeded by no other. It fully exhibits him 
who was to come, and hence we are to look for none 
other. A fuller revelation cannot be made to man of 
what is necessary to his happiness and perfective of his 
being ; for it is impossible for the human soul to receive 
or wish for more than is here promised. By the preach- 
ing of this gospel of the grace of God, the church, the 
congregation of true believers, is to be preserved on the 
earth; and in that church, Jesus Christ is to be pro- 
claimed as the full, sufficient, and only Saviour; and 
through the preaching of this Christ, souls are to be con- 
verted from sin to holiness ; and through this God, the 
universal Father and Lord, is to be incessantly glorified. 
But the effects of this salvation given to man are not to 
be confined to the limits of life. They are to last to 
eternity, and God to eternity be glorified for them ; and 
therefore the apostle adds, World without end — tov amvoe 


Tiov aioivutv, "Of the age of ages," or, "the duration of 
durations" — that duration which is infinitely beyond all 
that can be measured or marked by the revolution of the 
heavenly bodies : in a word, ETERNITY — where there 
shall be no more time, no more change — where sorrow 
and sighing shall be no more ; and it is that eternal sab- 
bath or rest that is reserved for the people of God. 

The song of praise to God through Christ, begun on 
earth, and protracted through all the generations of men, 
till the end of time, shall be continued in heaven by 
those who, having here received the salvation of God, 
and continued faithful unto death, in the resurrection of 
the just are taken to that ineffable glory, where, being 
like him, they shall see him as he is ; and being raised 
to his right hand, have fulness of joy, and pleasures for 
evermore ; in which state, eras, limits, and periods are 
absorbed in one eternal duration. 

It is in vain to attempt to describe this state : — when 
we say that in it there is no sin, we at once see that in 
•it there can be no pain, no misery, no death From it 
all evil is absent, and in it all good is present. There 
the introduction of evil is impossible, and there the loss 
of good is equally so. The time of probation is only on 
earth : the day of trial with the blessed is for ever ended, 
and now they are in that state in reference to which 
their probation existed. This duration we often express 
by world without end, i. e., the world or state that has no 
end. Sometimes by for ever and ever — that is, one ever 
or duration, that is endless, succeeding one that has 
ended. And sometimes by a yet more forcible expres- 
sion, for evermore ; that is, for ever — through the whole 
lapse of time; and more, the unlimited duration that 
shall succeed it. All these are phrases which labour 
to express what is at once both ineffable and inconceiv- 


The apostle concludes the whole with Amen, the com- 
mon seal to all such instruments as this, tax amen sig- 
nifies, he was faithful and true ; and the use of it here 
refers at once to God, to whom the prayer is offered, and 
from whom all those blessings came; and also to the 
truth and stability of the promises relative to the salva- 
tion mentioned here, and the glory that should follow. 
Amen — so be it — so let it be ! and so it shall be ; for all 
the counsels of God are faithfulness and truth ; and not 
one jot or tittle of his promise has failed from the foun- 
dation of the world to the present day ; nor can fail, till 
mortality be swallowed up of life, and the more have 
succeeded the ever, and God in his eternity be the centre 
in which all holy spirits shall infinitely rest. 

Therefore, to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Ghost, be glory, dominion, power, and thanksgiving, now, 
henceforth, and for ever. Amen and Amen. 

From God we came, and to God we shall return. 


With such a portion of the word of God before us, 
how can we be said to credit conscientiously the doc- 
trines of Christianity, and live satisfied with such slender 
attainments in the divine life? Can any person who 
pleads for the necessary and degrading continuance of in- 
dwelling sin, believe what the apostle has written ? Can 
we who profess to believe it, be excusable, and live under 
the influence of any temper or passion that is alien to 
the mind of Christ ? "Will it be said in answer, " This 
is only a prayer of the apostle, and contains his wish, from 
the overflowings of his heart, for the spiritual prosperity 
of the Ephesian Church." I ask farther, was the apostle 
inspired or not, when he wrote this prayer ? If he were 
not inspired, this prayer makes no part of divine revela- 


tion ; if he were inspired, every petition is tantamount 
to a positive promise : for what God inspires the heart 
to pray for, that God purposes to bestow; and if this 
prayer, thus given by inspiration, be given not merely 
for the comfort of the Church at Ephesus, but for the 
Christian Church in general ; then it is his will that all 
these blessings should be enjoyed by his followers in 
every age and nation: and the prayer is, that Christ 
would dwell in their hearts, that they should be filled with 
all the fulness of God ; and that he would do more abun- 
dantly for them than they could either ask or think. 
And as the prayer is not in reference to gifts to be given 
in the eternal world, does it not necessarily follow, that 
he prays for their deliverance from all sin, inward and 
outward, in this life ? Can any man expect to be saved 
from his inward sin, in the other world ? None, except 
such as hold the popish antiscriptural doctrine of purga- 
tory. But this deliverance is expected at death. Where 
is the promise that it shall then be given ? There is not 
one such in the whole Bible ! and to believe for a thing 
essential to our glorification, without any promise to sup- 
port that faith in reference to the point on which it is 
exercised, is a desperation that argues as well the ab- 
sence of true faith, as it does of right reason. Multitudes 
of such persons are continually deploring their want of 
faith, even where they have the clearest and most ex- 
plicit promises : and yet strange to tell, risk their salva- 
tion at the hour of death, on a deliverance that is no- 
where promised in the sacred oracles ! " But who has 
got this blessing ?" Every one who has come to God in 
the right way for it. " Where is such an one ?" Seek 
the blessing as you should do, and you will soon be able 
to answer the question. " But it is too great a blessing to 
be expected." Nothing is too great for a believer to ex- 
pect, which God has promised, and Christ has purchased 


with his blood. " If I had such a blessing, I should not 
be able to retain it." All things are possible to him that 
believeth. Besides, like all other gifts of God, it comes 
with a principle of preservation with it — and upon all 
thy glory there will be a defence. " Still, such an unfaith- 
ful person as I am cannot expect it." Perhaps the infi- 
delity you deplore, came through the want of this blessing : 
and as to worthlessness, no soul under heaven deserves 
even the least of God's mercies. It is not for thy wor- 
thiness that he has given thee anything, but for the sake 
of his Son. You say, " When I felt myself a sinner, 
sinking into perdition, I did then flee to the atoning 
blood, and found pardon — but this sanctification is a far 
greater work." NO ! speaking after the manner of men, 
justification is far greater than sanctification. When 
thou wert a sinner, ungodly, an enemy in thy mind by 
wicked works, a child of the devil, an heir of hell — God 
pardoned thee, on thy casting thy soul on the merit of 
the great sacrificial offering — thy sentence was reversed 
— thy state was changed — thou wert put among the chil- 
dren — and God's Spirit witnessed with thine that thou 
wert his child. What a change ! and what a blessing ! 
What then is this complete sanctification? It is the 
cleansing of the blood that has not been cleansed — it is 
washing the soul of a true believer from the remains of 
sin — it is the making one who is already a child of God, 
more holy, that he may be more happy, more useful in 
the world, and bring more glory to his heavenly Father. 
Great as this work is, how little, humanly speaking, is 
it, when compared with what God has already done for 
thee ! But suppose it were ten thousand times greater, 
is anything too hard for God ? Are not all tilings pos- 
sible to him that believes ? And does not the blood of 
Christ cleanse from all unrighteousness? Arise, then, 
and be baptized with a greater effusion of the Holy 


Ghost, and wash away thy sin, calling on the name of 
the Lord. 

" Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all 
desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid: 
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of 
thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and 
worthily magnify thy holy name, through Christ our 
Lord. Amen." — Collect for the Communion Service. 





Psalm xix. 1 — 8. 

1. " The heavens declare the glory of God ; and the firmament 
sheweth his handy work. 

2. " Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth 

3. " There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not 

4. " Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words 
to the end of the world : in them hath he set a tabernacle for the 

5. " Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, andre- 
joiceth as a strong man to run a race. 

6. " His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his cir- 
cuit unto the ends of it ; and there is nothing hid from the heat 

7. " The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul : the 
testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple : 

8. " The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart : the 
commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." 

It may be deemed a fortunate coincidence when those 
portions of sacred writings, which are appointed by our 
Church for the Sabbaths, or other solemnities of the year, 
are found to contain pointed reference to charitable or 
benevolent institutions ; which were not even contem- 
plated when our reformers selected those portions, and 
assigned them their respective places in the calendar. 


This is the fourth day of the lnonth ; and the first Psalm 
appointed for the morning of this day, is the xixth., out 
of which I have read the preceding verses : and on this 
day, the annual appeal on behalf of one of the greatest 
of the numerous benevolent institutions of this country 
(the Methodists' Missionary Society), is appointed to be 
made. A society that has for its object the illumination 
of the whole world, by sending the everlasting gospel to 
every nation, and people, and kindred, and tongue — a 
subject predicted by the royal psalmist, in words too 
plain and appropriate to be misunderstood ; and which, 
in application to this or such-like institutions, was not 
thought of by our ancestors ; nor the appointment of this 
day, in reference to this Scripture, contemplated by the 
managers of the institution. May the coincidence be 
hallowed to the grand object of this society ! and may 
we take encouragement from the text to proceed in this 
excellent work, with a steady pace, and a liberal hand ! 

This psalm, which is one of the most beautiful and 
noble compositions in this extraordinary book, seems in- 
tended to show the means which God employs to teach 
the knowledge of himself to the whole human race, and 
his gracious designs towards them ; and also contains a 
prophetic declaration of the diffusion of his gospel over 
the habitable world, in these latter times ; so that the 
earth shall be as literally and efficiently filled Avith the 
glorious light and influence of the healing rays of the 
Sun of righteousness, as it is by the light and heat of 
the natural Sun. 

To assert this from such a portion of Scripture, would 
appear hazardous and disputable, unless it could be sup- 
ported by some other portion, evidently giving this di- 
rection and meaning ; and plainly showing that such 
was the design of the prophetic Spirit. 

That such was the intention of the prophet, is proved 


by a quotation from this psalm, by the apostle Paul • 
who, considering what God was doing in his own day, 
to enlighten both Jews and Gentiles, quotes verse 4, 
" Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their 
words to the end of the world," Rom. x. 18 ; in which 
he evidently compares the preaching of the gospel of 
Christ to the sun shining upon the whole earth ; 
and the apostles to the planets reflecting the solar 
light and heat on the people who sat in darkness ; con- 
veying the spirit of life and health to those who sat in 
the region of the valley of the shadow of death ; and 
thus, as the heavens declared the glory of God, Jesus 
was the light that enlightened the Gentiles, and the 
glory of his people Israel. As the lines — rays and in- 
fluences of the heavenly bodies, went through the earth ; 
and their voice — the testimony that their harmony, order, 
and usefulness bore to the being and benevolence of 
God, went to the end of the world ; so, the preaching 
of the apostles and their successors went over the whole 
land of Judea, and to every department and colony of the 
Roman Empire. And, in the present day, nations, of 
whom neither the ancient Romans nor the apostles had 
ever heard, hear the glad tidings : for to them it may be 
truly said, Arise and be illuminated, for thy light is come, 
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. And from 
the prophet in the text, and the apostle in the quotation, 
we learn, that the design of God is to shed the light of 
his gospel as far as the sun shoots forth his beams, and 
the moon reflects his light, till every part of the habit- 
able globe shall have heard of the salvation of God, by 
means of the Holy Scriptures and the missionaries, whose 
line is now going forth to all the earth, and their words to 
the end of the world. 

In order to the accomplishment of this glorious end, 
I shall show that God has provided two books. I. The 


Book of Nature ; and II. The Book of Revelation ; that 
mankind may be brought to the true knowledge of him- 
self, and finally to eternal glory. 

I. The Book of Nature. — 1. The psalmist com- 
mences this sublime ode with this self-evident truth, 
" The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma- 
ment sheweth forth his handy work." As the original 
text is very expressive, I make no apology for inserting 
it ; y-p-in -n» vt rwym bx Tiaa d^sdo n-ouri ha-shamayim 
mesapherim cdbod El ; u-maaseh yadaiv magid ha-rakid, 
" The heavens number out the glory of the strong God, 
and the firmament shows forth his handy-work." Glory 
generally means an excessive brightness or splendour ; 
continued coruscations of light — not flashes like light- 
ning, which dazzle and confound the sight, and imme- 
diately disappear. This brightness is permanent; not 
only luminous in itself, but giving light to others : feed- 
ing upon no fuel, but being an essential splendour, is 
sustained by itself, yet appears to grow more and more 
luminous, because of the communication of itself to the 
subjects on which it shines, all of which partake of its 

To this property of brightness, or in other words, of 
the divine glory, St. Paul alludes, 2 Cor. iii. 18 ; " For 
we all with unveiled face beholding, as in a glass, the 
glory of the Lord, are changed from glory to glory by the 
Lord the Spirit." This glory diffuses glory; and the 
glory diflfcised impregnates and irradiates those on whom 
its rays are directed, so that they become luminous, 
though their light is but borrowed and reflected. 

Thus the sun and stars receive their splendour from 
God, and the planets, and their secondaries, become lu- 
minous by the glory reflected on them by their prima- 
ries. Even a first view of the starry heavens, strikes 
every careful observer with astonishment at the power 


by which they are made, and by which they are sus- 
tained : when a sufficiency of science is brought to the 
examination of the wisdom and skill displayed in the 
contrivance of such a great variety of bodies of differ- 
ent magnitudes, affections, and motions, increasing as- 
tonishment is produced, and we are forced to exclaim, 
These are the works of the strong God. 

The firmament — the whole visible expanse, not only 
containing the celestial bodies already mentioned, but 
also the air, light, clouds, rains, dews, &c. ; and when 
the composition of these principles is examined, and 
their great utility to the earth and its inhabitants pro- 
perly understood, they afford matter of amazement to the 
wisest mind, and of adoration and gratitude even to a 
comparatively unfeeling heart. Above, we see the strong 
God ; here, we see the Author of providence, the Foun- 
tain of mercy. Every view we take of these stupendous 
works adds something to our knowledge and amazement ; 
for they continue to number out more and more of the 
glories of the Creator. They are the works of his power, 
and the works of his skill : his hands have made and 
fashioned them; he has given them their weight and 
measure, and has adapted them to their use. 

" Day unto day uttereth speech," ton j/»n» avb or yom 
leyom yobid omer. Each succeeding day has something 
to add to the knowledge gained in the preceding one ; 
and labours to make its communication. The verb m: 
nabd signifies to boil, gurgle, or bubble up, as water from 
a spring, and seems to be used here merely to express 
the difficulty there is to describe the works of God in 
suitable words, howsoever clear their ideas may be in 
the mind. 

" Night unto night showeth knowledge," nWi n^Vi 
njn mn> valayelak lelayelah yechavveh daath, — " and 
night clearly demonstrates knowledge, or science, unto 


night." The word nm daaili not only signifies knowledge 
in general, hut science' or systematic knowledge ; and nin 
chavvah signifies, not only to declare, but " to demonstrate 
clearly and perspicuously, without any ambiguity. (See 
Taylor.) And it is highly worthy of remark, that while 
one day is only gurgling out a speech — some particular 
fact, unto another day ; the night is represented as 
bringing forward a mass of science, " clearly demonstrated, 
without ambiguity or doubt." How natural are these 
two sentences of astronomical knowledge ! How little is 
gained by day — it is only a saying, a speech, that one 
day can add to another; but by night, the heavenly 
bodies are all visible — their phases, motions, relative situ- 
ations, southings, risings, and settings, are all clearly 
distinguishable. And thus, while day teaches a fact — 
night produces a mass of science. To nocturnal ob- 
servations, we owe almost the whole of our astronomical 

Verse 3. There is no speech nor language, where their 
voice is not heard. Leave out the expletives here, and 
our translation is a tolerably correct rendering : irsx r* 
abip jraiw »"ja d'-qt vxi ein omer, veein debarim oeli nishma 
kolam, " No speech, and no words, their voice without 
hearing ;" ombn bnu rwpai mp xr y-mn ^33 becol hadrets 
yatsa kavam ubekitseh tebel niilleyhem — " Into all the 
earth hath gone out their sound ; and to the extremity 
of the habitable world, their eloquence." The sense is 
well given by Bishop Home: "Although the heavens 
are thus appointed to teach, yet it is not by articulate 
sounds that they do it. They are not endowed like man 
with the faculty of speech, but they address themselves 
to the mind of the intelligent beholder in another way ; 
and that, when understood, a no less forcible way ; the 
way of picture or representation. The instruction which 
the heavens spread abroad, is as universal as their sub- 


stance, which spreads itself in lines or rays ; by this 
means, their words, or rather their significant actions or 
operations, nrrbn milleyhem, are everywhere present ; and 
thereby they preach to all nations, the power, the mercy, 
and the loving-kindness of the Lord." 

The word tp Jcav, which we translate line, is rendered 
sonus by the Vulgate, and <f>9oyyoc, sound, by the Sep- 
tuagint, and St. Paul uses the same term, Rom. x. 18. 
Perhaps the idea is taken here from a stretched cord, that 
emits a sound on being struck or twitched ; and there- 
fore both the ideas may be included in the same word ; 
and hence Dip kavam may be either their line or cord, or 
their sound. " In them hath he set a tabernacle for the 
sun," ona brut w umu/b le shemesh, sam ohel bahem. The 
Septuagint, and all the ancient versions, the Chaldee 
excepted, have translated the passage thus : iv rip rj\io t > 
tQero aKt]vii>iJ.a avrov, " In the sun he hath placed his 
tabernacle :" though erroneous, this version has much 
force. As the sun is the most splendid and glorious of 
all the celestial bodies, it was supposed, and even by 
some of the best of men, that if the Supreme Being had 
any local habitation it must be in the sun. There his 
presence was supposed to be manifested by excessive 
glory or brightness. There, he held his court — and from 
that residence, he sent forth his light and heat to all the 
parts and inhabitants of the earth. Nor could such per- 
sons put the residence for the resident, though others in 
ancient times had done so, but as often as they saw the 
sun going forth in his strength they would naturally lift 
up their hearts to him that thus dwelt in light unap- 
proachable ; and magnify him as well for the influences 
of his power and goodness in the natural world, as for 
those of his grace on the souls of men. Even in our own 
times, a sensible and learned man has supposed the sun 
to be the seat of the blessed. But our version strictly 


follows the Hebrew ; and the thought conveyed by it is 
philosophically beautiful. We know by incontrovertible 
evidence, that the sun is in the centre of what is called 
the solar system — about him all the planets and their 
secondaries revolve ; and all have their motion, light, 
and heat from him. In ancient times, it was supposed 
that the earth was the centre, and that the whole heavens 
were whirled about it every twenty-four hours ! Had 
it been so, we might have expected to see yiN 1 ? bnx ohel 
learets, a tabernacle for the earth, instead of umvb bn« 
ohel leshemesh, a tabernacle for the sun ; but the Hebrew 
shows that the sun has his tabernacle ; his fixed central 
position among them, that is, among the heavenly bodies ; 
and this is not said of any other body in the whole 
system. The author of the psalm might not have been 
aware of the philosophical precision with which he spoke; 
but God, who inspired the words, knew his own mean- 
ing; and this, as it must be, is beautiful and correct. 
What is said after, when comparing the sun to a bride- 
groom coming out of his chamber, refers to his apparent 
rising in the East, and proceeding along the heavens 
with increasing splendour and heat ; and is a metaphor 
taken from that part of a Jewish matrimonial ceremony, 
where a canopy or veil is raised on four poles, which four 
persons hold over the bridegroom's head, and from under 
which he comes with his splendid and ornamental vest- 
ments. To these ornamental garments the sun is com- 
pared, because of the glory and splendour of his rays ; 
and to a giant or strong man running a race, because of 
the power of his light and heat. Even Sir Isaac Newton 
speaks of the rising and setting of the sun, though these 
are only appearances ; for the sun never rises nor sets, — 
he has his tabernacle, his fixed dwelling, among the 
heavenly host ; like a general in his pavilion, surrounded 
by his officers and troops ; for the appearance of rising 


and setting is occasioned by the diurnal revolution of the 
earth on its own axis, from west to east. 

Verse 6. "His going forth is from the end of the 
heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it ; and there is 
nothing hid from the heat thereof." This is spoken 
either of the apparent motion of the sun from east to 
west, — for he appears to rise in the former, and set in the 
latter, which, as we have seen before, is occasioned by 
the diurnal revolution of the earth round its own axis, 
from west to east, which causes the sun to appear as if 
he were going the contrary way, i. e., from east to west ; — 
or the first clause may refer to this, and the second 
most probably to the earth's annual motion in its orbit or 
course between the tropics, on which the vicissitudes of 
all our seasons depend, and by which the necessary pro- 
portion of light and heat is dispensed to all the inhabi- 
tants of the earth, from the tropic of Cancer to the tropic 
of Capricorn. " His going forth is from the end of the 
heaven" — from the east to the west, forming the natural 
day ; as his circuit — his annual revolution in its orbit 
round the sun, is unto the ends of it — from tropic to 
tropic, so that • there is nothing hidden from the heat 
thereof ; eyery part, from the arctic to the antarctic circle, 
having that proportion of light and heat which the nature 
of the soil and the necessity of the inhabitants require. 
Should it be said there is a less proportion of light and 
heat towards the poles than on other parts of the earth's 
surface; if so, the reason is plain— fess is required. 
Within the whole antarctic circle not a foot of land is 
known to exist; and as to the inhabitants within the 
arctic circle, and they are very few, it has never yet been 
known that their long days have not amply compensated 
for their short ones ; nor has it been heard that the fruits 
which grow in those regions have not had light and heat 
sufficient to mature them. For, even in those regions, 

VOL. I. P 


as well as in others, it may be justly said, as in the text, 
" there is nothing that has been hidden from the heat 
thereof." God's power has lighted up the sun in the 
firmament of heaven; God's providence has dispensed 
his light and heat in their just proportions ; and divided 
the influences of the celestial bodies to all the nations 
under heaven ; and his mercy " makes his sun to rise on 
the evil and the good ; and sends rain on the just and 
on the unjust." 

This is the book of nature, which God has opened 
before the eyes of all men ; filled with characters the 
most legible and intelligible, formed out of the alphabet 
of a universal language, which all the inhabitants of the 
earth can read ; and thus, " the invisible things of him 
from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being 
understood by the things that are made, even his eternal 
power and Godhead ; so that they who have not profited 
by this book are without excuse ;" Rom. i. 20. 

II. The Book of Revelation. — The Psalmist, having 
shown what God has done in nature, in order to give to 
all men correct ideas of his eternal power and Godhead, 
now proceeds to state that he has added to the above a 
direct revelation of his will, containing a more perfect 
description of the Divine Nature, particularly in refer- 
ence to his justice and mercy ; and of man in his fallen 
state; what he requires him to know, that he may 
become wise unto salvation ; and what is necessary to be 
done for him, and in him, that he might be saved from 
his sins, and become an heir of eternal glory. 

1. He has given him his law ; characterized as being 
perfect ; the use of which is, to become the instrument 
of converting and restoring the soul. In this we must 
consider the following points : 

1st. It is a law: mm tor ah, from m* yarah, to in- 
struct, direct, put straight, and to guide. 1. Man is igno- 


rant, and must be instructed ; general instructions will 
not be sufficient, therefore he must receive the most par- 
ticular directions. 2. His paths are all crooked, and his 
mind is crooked, therefore he must be set straight. 3. 
He can never go on by himself, and therefore must be 
guided in the way. 

2. This law is the book of divine revelation, contained 
in the Old and New Testaments, as created things are 
the book of nature : the things which God has made to 
make himself known by. This second book, or law of 
God, is a code of instruction, in which God makes him- 
self known in the holiness and justice of his nature, his 
displacence at sin, and his love of righteousness ; as also 
to manifest himself in the magnitude of his mercy, and 
readiness to save. In a word, it is God's system of in- 
struction ; by which men are taught the knowledge of 
their Creator and of themselves — directed how to walk 
so as to please God — redeemed from crooked paths — 
and guided in the way that leads to everlasting life. 
This is what those who know it best have in all ages and 
countries agreed to call the Bible, BiflXog or Bij5\ia, — the 
book, or the books. The Book, by way of eminence — 
the book made by God ; the only book that is without 
blemish or error — the book that contains the truth, the 
whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That without 
which we should have known little about God, less con- 
cerning ourselves, and nothing about heaven, the resur- 
rection, or a future state. The book that contains the 
greatest mass of learning ever put together ; the book 
from which all the sages of antiquity have directly or 
indirectly derived their knowledge ; by means of which 
the nations who have studied it most, and known it best, 
have formed the wisest codes of laws, and have become 
the wisest and the most powerful nations of the earth. 
This law is described here by a variety of names. It 




is not only God's law, but it is God's testimony — his 
statutes — his commandment — his fear, or that which 
teaches reverence to him, and the proper manner of 
his worship — and his judgments ; for all these are parts 
or characteristics of what is here called, The law of 

Some of the ancients, those called Primitive Fathers, 
thought that God had a threefold law ; or, that he had 
given three laws to mankind : 

1. The law of nature; which teaches the knowledge 
of God, as to his eternal power and deity, -by the visible 

2. The written law ; or code of laws given to Moses 
and the prophets ; which teaches more perfectly the 
knowledge of God : his nature — his will — and our duty. 

3. The law of grace or mercy, given by Jesus Christ ; 
which teaches the necessity of an atonement, and shows 
in what that atonement consists ; the sanctification of 
the soul ; the resurrection of the body ; and clearly, the 
future condition of all human beings, in an eternal state 
of blessedness or misery, according to the use or abuse 
they have made of the mercy of their Redeemer ; and 
their fitness or unfitness for the eternal states revealed 
in this law. 

The first of these laws was written in hieroglyphics in 
the earth and the visible heavens. 

The second was written on tables of stone, on Mount 

The third is to be written on the heart, by the power 
of the Holy Ghost. 

These three laws all emanate from the same source, 
and are given for the same end. They are three distinct 
ways by which God has chosen, in three distinct times, 
to make himself known to mankind. They have also 
been termed three dispensations : i. e., of mercy and 


justice; each having its peculiar excellence, and its 
peculiar mode of teaching the same subject — i. e., the 
knowledge of the true God ; in reference to the same 
end, viz., the edification and salvation of man. 

Now God has, at sundry times, and in divers manners, 
spoken in times past unto the fathers — the first inhabit- 
ants of the earth ; and from them downward, to the time 
in which he sealed up vision and prophecy in the days 
of the Messiah. And it is worthy of remark, that each 
of these laws, or dispensations, in their successive order, 
discovered an increasing depth in the matter of instruc- 
tion which they contained. They held out an increasing 
light, which shone more and more to the perfect day. 
They might be compared to the morning star — the rising 
sun — and the sun in his meridian height, strength, and 

1. The law of nature was calculated to instruct man 
in his primitive uncultivated state ; it contained but few 
ideas, and taught a few original important truths, and 
those principally relating to the existence, power, wisdom, 
and providence of that Being, who was the Cause and 
Creator of all things ; and, consequently, the adoration 
due to him as such. Thus it was calculated to prevent 
idolatry of all kinds. 

2. The law which was written and delivered to Moses, 
and by him to the people called Israelites and Jews, while 
it contained the same truths as that above, gave greater 
evidence concerning each ; and added a great variety of 
important instructions relative to the most essential attri- 
butes of God, especially his holiness, justice, and truth — 
his power in supporting, and his providence in preserving. 
It taught also what sin is, and the evil of it; the happi- 
ness and safety of the righteous ; and showed, by a great 
variety of significant rites and ceremonies, that a dispen- 
sation of law and justice was in the fulness of time to be 


introduced, that would fulfil the design and perfect the 
teaching of all that had gone before, and proclaim and 
exhibit God in the plenitude of his excellency, especially 
in the splendour of his justice, and the bright effulgence of 
his mercy. 

3. The law of grace or mercy, given to man by Jesus 
the Christ, the promised Messiah, including all that the 
preceding laws or dispensations taught concerning the 
Being and attributes of God, pointing out more precisely 
the reference and intention of all rites and ceremonies 
contained in the preceding law ; and especially what was 
designed by its sacrificial system — showed the fulfilment 
of all the declarations of the prophets — opened a new 
communication between heaven and earth by the Holy 
Spirit — added exceeding great and precious promises of 
peace, happiness, and salvation to all them that believe — 
introduced in its fulness that most important doctrine of 
the one only and sufficient atoning sacrifice for sin, 
which himself was to make by his death upon the cross, 
and its grand consequence (not before discovered), justi- 
fication by faith, without the deeds of the law, or pardon 
of sin through believing in Christ as having died for the 
offences of man, and risen again for his justification. For, 
as all had sinned, and had come short of God's glory, so 
none was capable of making an atonement for his own 
transgressions; nor by any merit or moral obedience, 
could buy off his own soul from the curse pronounced 
upon it by that just and holy law which he had broken . 
that therefore, if the mercy of God were intended finally 
to triumph over the requisitions of justice, it was neces- 
sary that the promised Messiah, the Almighty's Fellow, 
should assume the nature of man, suffer in his stead, and 
thus give the divine justice a sufficient reason why, con- 
sistently with all its just requisitions, mercy might flow 
in a perennial stream from the throne of God — glory to 


all that were partakers of that nature which the Messiah 
had assumed, to the last human family that should be 
found upon the face of the earth, till the voice of the 
archangel should be heard, and the blast of the last trum- 
pet should summon the living and the dead to appear 
before the bar of God, each to receive according to the 
deeds done in the body. As in this law of grace, Christ 
promises to restore true believers to the favour of God, by 
blotting out their sins ; and to the full image of God, by 
purifying their souls from all unrighteousness ; and as 
he promises the utmost perfection of which they are 
capable in this life, so that they shall have himself dwell- 
ing in their hearts by faith, be rooted and grounded in 
love, and be filled with all the fulness of God : as all 
these things are so, we cannot expect a fourth law or dis- 
pensation. All the laws preceding the manifestation of 
the Messiah were evidently imperfect ; i. e., did not con- 
tain a full revelation of God's will in reference to man ; 
so it was necessarily implied that they were only the 
forerunners which were to prepare the way for others, 
which should give more ample information concerning 
God and the salvation intended for man. Man needs no 
more ; nor is the human soul capable of receiving more 
than God has promised to bestow in this life ; so the 
gospel days are emphatically termed, the last times. 

Now we see clearly that the law of nature was intro- 
ductory to and prepared men for the law of Moses ; the 
law of Moses was introductory to and prepared the way 
for the law of Christ, or the gospel dispensation ; and 
the gospel dispensation is introductory to and prepares true 
believers for the state of eternal beatification and glory. 

We have now before us the various means which God 
has used from the commencement of the world, to in- 
struct man ; and were we to begin the instruction of any 
nation, in its rudest and most heathen state, it is not pro- 


bable that we could invent a more effectual and gradu- 
ally illuminating mode of instruction, than that laid down 
in the above three laws or dispensations of God's power, 
wisdom, and grace towards man. 

Were I, as a missionary, now to begin my ministerial 
labours among the stupid Hurons of North America, the 
Samoeids of the Northern Frozen Ocean, the Namacquas 
of Southern Africa, the Esquimaux of Labrador, or the 
Abprigenes of New Holland, I would proceed with them 
in the very manner in which God has given his laws and 
dispensations to the human race. 

1. By day I would call their attention to the sun in the 
firmament of heaven ; by night to the moon, the planets, 
and the stars. I would endeavour to tell them what they 
are, where they are, what their use is, and what we may 
learn from them. In substance, I would thus address 
them: "You feel that the sun gives you light and 
warmth by day, and when your days are longest, and the 
sun brightest and warmest, then the grass, and the yams, 
and the various things on which you feed, grow most plen- 
teously. Whence did these things come ? Did they make 
themselves ? Can anything make itself? Can a thing 
begin to work before it has any being ? You see this 
vessel. I turn it upside down. Is there anything in it ? 
No, there is nothing. Could then this nothing, this 
emptiness build that hut — make that rock — produce 
this great tree ? You see, you know that it could not. 
It has neither eyes, nor feet, nor hands, nor instruments 
of any kind— nor is it anything that you can touch, or see, 
or even think of, for it has no being ; it does not exist — 
it is nothing ; consequently it has made nothing, and can 
make nothing. Then, do you think that the sun, the 
moon, the stars, &c, have made themselves ? They can 
no more make themselves than the nothing in this 
vessel can make your hut, yon rock, or that large tree ! 


Who made the hut ? Why yourself, for it could not make 
itself. Then, who made the sun, the moon, the stars, the 
earth, and all things ? For the reason already shown you, 
they could not make themselves. They would naturally 
answer, We do not know who or what made them, nor 
anything else ; do you know ? Yes. It was that Being 
that we worship — that we pray to — and to whom we sing 
those hymns, with the sound of which you seem so 
pleased. We call him God. This word in our language 
signifies the Good Being. This Being is so strong, that 
he could take up the whole earth, with all its seas, and 
rivers, and islands. He could dash them all to pieces, 
and in the same moment make them as they were before, 
or make them in any other shape, or put them in any 
other place. He is also very wise ; he knows every 
thing; and can teach you to know anything that might 
do you good. You think that we know much more than 
you. It is so ; and it is so, because we know this God, 
and we pray to him, and he teaches lis ; he makes our 
hearts wise and our heads wise. We see also that he is 
very good ; he made the sun to give us light and heat, 
and to make our crops grow in the ground ; and he made 
the moon and the stars to give light by night ; and the 
earth to provide us with food. So from the sun, and the 
moon, and the stars, and the earth, and other wonderful 
things which we see, none of which could make them- 
selves, we have first learnt, that a strong Being, a wise 
Being, and a good Being, could alone make all these 
things ; and as we see that he made them for our use, and 
for our advantage, we then know that he must love us ; 
and we feel from that, that we should love him. Now, if 
we love him, we know that we should not do anything 
that would offend him. We should not do anything that 
is bad, for that would offend the good Being ; we should 
not do anything that is foolish, for that would grieve this 



wise Being. We should not use our strength to hurt one 
another, to oppress each other, to strike, to kill, or de- 
stroy our friends, our neighbours, or any one else, for thus 
the strong Being never employs his strength ; and what 
strength we have, he gave it to us, for he made us ; it 
would grieve him if we should do wrong to one another. 
But where is this strong, wise, and good Being ? We 
never saw him. We answer, He is everywhere — he sees 
everything, because he is everywhere — he fills all things 
and places. But he has not a body like us — he is a Spirit ; 
now a spirit is that which knows, thinks, and works, 
without using any bodily form. Then, if he have no 
body, and we cannot see him, how can we know that there 
is such a Being? I answer, Look at that grass; what 
makes it wave ? — look at that tree ; what makes its leaves 
and branches shake ? — look at the clouds ; what makes 
them move along the sky ? We tell you, it is the wind 
that does these things. Well then, can you see the wind ? 
Have you ever seen it ? Have you ever heard that any of 
your forefathers have seen it ? No. Then you see that 
something may exist and work which you cannot see. 
Have you not seen that this wind sometimes blows down 
your houses, tears up great trees from their roots, raises 
up the waves of the sea, that they appear to touch the 
clouds ? Yet you have never seen it ; but you see from 
its effects that it can do wonderful things — terrible things? 
Now, our God made that very wind. He cannot be seen. 
because he is a spirit ; — it cannot be seen, because it is 
thin air. But though you cannot see the wind, you may 
feel it ; it blows upon your bodies, it blows your garments 
about, it has sometimes, no doubt, blown you off your feet, 
and its cool breeze has often refreshed you when hot and 
weary. Thus you know by feeling it that it exists. So 
you might feel our God, though you, cannot see him. 
Have you ever felt any good desire? Have you felt 


grieved with yourselves when you did some wicked thing ? 
Yes, we have. Well; it was God that gave you that 
feeling ; and were you to pray to him, suppose thus : 

thou strong Being, I am weak in my heart, and cannot 
do the things that are right, be thou pleased to give me 
strength ! O thou wise Being, I am very ignorant and 
very foolish, wilt thou be pleased to give me wisdom that 

1 may know what is right ! thou good Being, I have a 
bad heart, and do many bad things ; oh, take away my bad 
heart, and give me a good heart. Now I say, this God, 
who is here, for he is everywhere, and hears what I teach 
you, will hear your prayer, and give you to feel that he 
strengthens you ; he will teach you, and you will feel 
that you grow wise ; he will take away your bad heart, 
and give you to feel that he has given you a good one. 
And as you feel his inward working so powerfully, 
you shall be as sure that he exists, and that he loves and 
works in you, as if you could see him with your eyes, and 
feel him with your hands ; and you will be soon able, 
when I have given you more instruction from a book that 
we Christians have, which was given to us by this God, 
to call him your Father, as your son shall call you his 

Thus far I could, as a missionary, go with the rudest 
savages, teaching them from the law or book of nature 
that there is a Being who has made all things ; and that 
he is strong, and wise, and good ; that he may be felt, 
though not seen ; that men should pray to him for power, 
and wisdom, and goodness, and that he will hear them, 
and grant their requests. But this plan of teaching the 
rude and uncultivated may be almost endlessly varied, 
everything around us offering new arguments and new 
modes of illustration. 

2. Having prepared the minds of my heathen auditory 
by such plain arguments and illustrations as were neces- 


sary to give them some notion of a First Cause — to point, 
out to them the almighty, omniscient, and infinitely good 
Being, and the necessity of knowing, loving, and serving 
him ; the second law, or mode of discovery which God 
has made of himself to mankind, should be introduced ; 
and in such circumstances as those mentioned above, I 
would introduce this subject after the following manner : 
" I have already shown you, that the Being which we 
call God was before all things, and that the heaven and 
the earth were made by him; that no thing, no being, could 
make itself; and that this Being has made all things by 
his wisdom and power ; and that he made them for the 
use and good of mankind ; which is a proof that he loves 
man, and is always disposed to make him wise, and good, 
and happy; and therefore we should love him, and do 
nothing that might displease him. But in order to know 
him fully, for our happiness, he has given us a book, that 
teaches how he has made all things, how he governs 
them, what he would have us to know ; and also gives us 
an account of what he hates, and what we should not do ; 
and of what he loves, and what we should perform. This 
book teaches us that all men came from one father and 
mother, whom this God formed out of the ground, and 
made them with very good hearts, without any evil thought 
or bad passion ; it tells us also, how man lost his good 
heart, by doing what this God told him not to do ; and 
that misery, woe and death, came in consequence into 
the world. Now, the accounts that we have in this book 
we know to be true ; for they tell us what we know and 
feel to be true ; for the descriptions that are given answer 
exactly to the things themselves, and these things we 
could not have found out had we not been taught them 
by this book; and no people in the world, that have 
not this book, know these things ; for instance, you do 
not know them, because you have not this book : and all 


the men in the world were in the same state of ignorance, 
as you are now, before God gave this Book. And God, this 
good Being, pitying the state of man, through the great 
love that he bears to him, spoke all the words contained 
in this book, in the hearts of men which he had made 
good, that they might receive and remember these good 
things ; and he caused them to write them down in n 
book, that they might copy them into other books, and 
thus hand them down from father to son, as long as that 
sun shall shine by day, and the moon and star-' give Ikfnt 
by night. Now I will read to you the account that God 
gives us in this book ; how he made the heavens above, 
and the earth below ; how he made the sun, the moon, the 
stars, the trees, the grass, the fish, the fowls, the beasts ; 
and how he made men and women. Now listen atten- 
tively, and you will hear a most beautiful account ; and if 
anything you hear me read does not appear sufficiently 
plain to you, when I stop, ask me, and I will explain k 
fully." Here then I would read a part of the first chap- 
ter of Genesis, and at successive opportunities the whole ; 
with the account of the temptation and fall of man. I 
would give also the history of the people to whom God 
originally gave those Scriptures — of the Israelites, in their 
origin — in their slavery in Egypt — their exodus — mira- 
culous support in their travels, and their settlement in the 
Promised Land. When all this was done, I would pro- 
ceed in some such way as this: "Now, as God loves 
man (for I would take care to have the love of God to 
man, as the foundation and cause of all his acts towards 
the whole human race), and he saw that he was become 
so very ignorant and wicked, that he had no proper know- 
ledge of good and evil left ; God tells him in this book 
what he should do, and what he should not do ; and that 
all might easily learn and remember these things, he 
divides them into ten commandments, or divine orders, 


telling each what he should perform, and what he should 
leave undone." Here the decalojnie should come in — 
every precept be explained at large, showing at the same 
time the reasonableness, necessity, and usefulness of each 
part, and of the whole. Having completed this part of 
my plan of instruction, I would proceed to the account of 
sacrifices, and endeavour to explain their nature, their re- 
ference to sin, in order to show what each sin deserved, 
viz., death , and show that the same God who prescribed 
them, had told the people that they were insufficient of 
themselves to take away the guilt of sin; and that they 
were intended to point out a glorious Being, infinitely 
pure, spiritual, and good ; who was to come from heaven 
to earth, and become a man, like to one of ourselves, 
though in that pure and spiritual nature, which dwelt in 
that man, he had infinite power, wisdom, and goodness ; 
and was himself to become a true sacrifice, by dying for 
the sins of mankind ; and that God had revealed this 
great design many hundreds of years before it took place, 
to holy men who were commanded to write what God had 
declared on this subject, in the same book ; and then the 
various promises concerning the advent of Christ should 
be read and explained ; and care should be taken to show 
that these prophecies were delivered several hundreds of 
years before any such events as were foretold in them 
had taken place. I would also show strongly the ne- 
cessity of such a sacrifice as that promised, 1. To Hot 
out the sins that were past. 2. To procure grace or 
divine help, by which we might live a holy life. 3. To 
purify the heart and mind from all badness or sinfulness ; 
and thus to prepare the soul for and finally bring it into 
an everlasting state of happiness with the good God, in 
the kingdom of heaven. 

3. Having added line upon line, and precept upon 
precept, on these subjects, then I would introduce 


The Third Law, or Revelation of God's will to man- 
kind, the Gospel dispensation ; show that, exactly at the 
time which the prophets referred to, Jesus Christ came 
into the world, and appeared as man among men — but 
the wisdom of his words, and his wonderful miracles 
(which should be carefully detailed), proved that, in that 
man dwelt an infinite power and goodness ; that accord- 
ing to the prophecies, long before delivered, he permitted 
himself to be nailed to a cross, on which he expired; and 
that, in three days, he raised up that slain body from the 
dead — lived and conversed with his friends for many 
days — and then, in the sight of several, went up into 
heaven, having given commandment to his disciples 
(persons whom he had before instructed) to go into all 
the world, and preach the good news of what he had 
done and suffered, to every man ; and that all who should 
hear these things, and believe on him, as thus having 
lived, suffered, died, risen again, and gone up into hea- 
ven, to pray and plead from them, should receive the 
forgiveness of all their sins, and that purification of heart 
promised by the prophets, so that when they should die, 
their souls should go straight to heaven, a state of inde- 
scribable happiness ; and that at no great distance of 
time, even their bodies should be raised from their graves, 
and never feel sickness, nor pain, and never die more. 
And it is in consequence of his command, that we are 
come so many thousands of miles over great oceans to 
preach to and teach you, that you may be made happy. 

I have said that the plan of preaching to the heathen 
which I here propose, is sanctioned by the manner in 
which God exhibits those works by which he makes his 
eternal power and Godhead known to the world. 

1. Prophets and apostles have followed the same plan. 
When writing to the heathens in Babylon, Jeremiah not 
only uses their own language, but also this same manner 


of teaching : " The gods that have not made the heavens 
and the earth, they shall perish from the earth, and from 
under these heavens," Jer. x. 11. [See the first Dis- 
course in this volume.] 

2. See the great apostle Paul : when he addresses the 
Jews, he quotes the Law and the Prophets ; and his ap- 
peals to their Scriptures are incessant; and out of the 
law and the prophets, the divine authority of which they 
allowed, he shows their wickedness in rejecting the gos- 
pel, which Moses and the prophets foretold. 

3. But view him writing to heathens, or preaching to 
a heathen audience, and what do you hear ? The finest 
appeals to the Book of Nature, to prove the being, provi- 
dence, justice, wisdom, and goodness of him who made 
the heavens and the earth. Hear him at Lystra, where 
all were heathens and idolaters, and to'ok him and his 
companion for gods, and were about to offer them sacri- 
fices, Acts xiv. 15 — 17 : "Sirs, why do ye these things ? 
We also are men of like passions (feelings and constitu- 
tions) with you, and preach unto you that ye should 
turn from these vanities unto the living God, which 
made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that 
are therein." " He hath not left himself without wit- 
ness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, 
and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and glad- 
ness." No appeal to Scripture here ; and why ? because 
they neither acknowledged it, nor knew anything of it. 

4. Hear him preaching at the Areopagus, to the Athe- 
nian magistrates : he does not begin ^o announce Christ, 
and redemption through his blood ; if he had done so, 
he must have lost his labour— they did not believe in the 
Supreme God ; for they did not know him : to know 
the true God, is the first principle of true religion. Taking 
advantage of the inscription on one of their altars, To 
the unknown God, he commences with, " Him whom 


ye ignorantly worship, declare I unto you. God, that 
made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is 
Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made 
with hands ; neither is worshipped with men's hands, as 
though he needed anything, seeing he giveth to all life, 
and breath, and all things ; and hath made of one blood 
all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the 
earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, 
and the bounds of their habitation ; that they should 
seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and 
find him, though he be not far from every one of us : 
for in him we live, and move, and have our being ; as 
certain also of your own poets have said, For we are 
also his oifspring. Forasmuch then as we are the oiF- 
spring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead 
is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and 
man's device," &c., Acts xvii. 22 — 29. To such a peo- 
ple, Moses and the prophets would have had no author- 
ity ; but a Greek poet of their own, Aratus, had ; and 
therefore he quotes him, and argues on the quotation : 
" We are his offspring." — If so, " Then the Godhead is 
not like unto gold, silver, stone," &c. 

5. And so nicely does this chief apostle discriminate, 
that when he addresses Felix, half a heathen and half a 
Jew, he does not dwell on either system, but refers to 
both. The resurrection of the dead was generally cre- 
dited among the Jews, all believing it, except the Sad- 
ducees. This he mentions in his defence before Felix : 
and then, as was the practice of the Ethic philosophers, 
he " reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judg- 
ment to come," Acts xxiv. 21 — 25; referring to both 
systems, as far as they were likely to bear on the under- 
standing and conscience of this demi-heathen. They 
who do not follow such a plan in preaching to the hea- 
then, but rush in upon them with the mysteries ot 


Christianity, before they are convinced that there is a 
God who has created all things, though they thus cast 
their bread upon the waters, are not likely to find it, even 
after many days. 

I need add no more relative to what might be said in 
the endlessly extended teaching of this third law: no 
direction can be needed on this point ; and I introduce 
this method of instruction, to show that, in preaching to 
the heathen, we should begin with the simplest truths, 
and rise by degrees to the most sublime, one degree of 
knowledge preparing the way for another ; and thus we 
should copy the method which God has used in the com- 
munication of his will to mankind, as has been before ob- 
served (p. 326). : the patriarchal dispensation making way 
for the Mosaic ; the Mosaic preparing for the Christian 
dispensation ; and the Christian dispensation making way 
and preparing for the heaven of heavens in all its glories. 
6. It is absurd to commence the instruction of hea- 
thens by the preaching of the sublime doctrines and 
mysteries of Christianity. We never set our children to 
read Milton's Paradise Lost before they have learnt the 
alphabet, and how to write and compound the letters 
into syllables, the syllables into words, the words into 
sentences, and the sentences into regular discourse. 

But it is time to return to my Christian congregation 
from a long digression, which has led me away to a hea- 
then auditory in the ends of the earth. 

1 . The grand characteristics of that revelation of God, 
called here The ham of Jehovah (or as the margin 
translates, The Doctrine of the Lord), we have already 
seen ; and what the word here used signifies (see p. 
320) ; it is God's system of instruction, and of it the 
Psalmist says, it is perfect nawi nw mm torath Yehovah 
temimah, "The law or doctrine of Jehovah is perfec- 
tion." The revelation that God has given of himself to 


man is a perfect system of instruction. It reveals no 
more than we ought to know; it keeps nothing back 
that would be profitable. It gives us a proper view of 
the nature and authority of the Lawgiver. It shows 
the right he has to govern us. This right he derives 
from being our Creator, our Preserver, and our incessant 
Benefactor. He has made us, and therefore we are his : 
" We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture." All 
well-constituted and wisely-enacted laws are for the 
benefit of the subject. This is emphatically the case 
with the law of God. He needs not our allegiance — he 
wants not our tribute. He is infinitely perfect, and needs 
nothing that we can bring. There was the utmost ne- 
cessity for this law. He that is without law is without 
reason and rule. He has no line to walk by — nothing 
to teach, restrain, or correct him. He is led astray by 
his passions ; and lives to his own ruin and destruction. 
God in his mercy has given him a law to bind, to in- 
struct, and to lead him. In this law he has shown man 
at once his duty and his interest ; and by it he has shown 
him his own weakness and sinfulness, and the necessity 
of receiving mercy from his Creator, because he has bro- 
ken it, and cannot repair the breaches he has made ; 
and the need he has of continual help from his God, that 
he may be able to walk in conformity to that moral law, 
not only in all his outward deportment, but also in all 
the workings of his understanding, judgment, will, and 
affections. All these things are included in the letter 
and meaning of the perfect law of the Lord. By it is the 
knowledge of sin ; and by it is shown the absolute neces- 
sity of a Saviour. It shows also the nature and demerit 
of crimes, and declares and appoints the punishment. 

It is perfection — it is perfect in all its parts ; and 
when we take the word in the whole extent of its mean- 
ing, it includes the instructions of the new law ; it gives 



testimony to him, " by whom is preached unto us the 
forgiveness of sin ; and by whom we are to be freely jus- 
tified from all things from which we could not be justi- 
fied (pardoned and saved) by the law of Moses." 

2. It is therefore said of this law, not only that it is 
perfect, but it converts the soul: wed ro^ra meshibath 
nephesh- — converting (or as the margin, restoring') the soul. 
The soul of man has been perverted — turned from God 
to sin and death. It is to be converted — turned from 
sin and death, to God and life eternal. It has fallen 
into sin, misery, and ruin ; and is to be restored to holi- 
ness, happiness, and endless salvation. The law (or as 
the margin has it, the doctrine) of the Lord, received as 
coming from himself, and under the influences of his own 
Spirit, turns the soul back (shows the method of recon- 
ciliation) to God; and how it is to be restored from its 
ruined state, built up as at the beginning, and made a 
habitation of God through the Spirit. Thus the soul is 
converted to him, and restored by him. And the doc- 
trine of the Lord is the grand means that he uses and 
will bless to the conversion and restoration of the souls 
of both Jews and Gentiles, of practical heathens and 
nominal Christians. 

3. It is immediately added, ver. 7, " The testimony of 
the Lord is sure, making wise the simple :" nmw mrr rrny 
via rra-Drro eduth Yehovah neeminah, mechocimat peti. The 
word rms Muth, which we translate testimony, from iy ad, 
on, beyond, forward, signifies a reference to something 
beyond itself — to time forward; and may here be referred 
to typical things ; — to such as gave testimony to things 
to come, as things of which the present were representa- 
tives. These may include all the types by which the 
great Saviour of the world was prefigured, his glorious 
dignity, his incarnation, preaching, miracles, passion, 
death, resurrection, the preaching of the apostles and 


their successors, and the glory that should follow in the 
establishment of the Christian Church; and the diffu- 
sion of the knowledge of God over all the nations of the 
world by the dissemination of the word of truth, and by 
the teaching of the many, now called missionaries, who 
run to and fro, and by whom knowledge is increased. 
There is not one of these points that is not mentioned 
in the Bible, either in the direct words of prophecy, or 
by the testimonies, the types, and representatives of fu- 
ture glorious things mentioned above. 

4. It is said of these testimonies, that they are sure or 
true. Yes, we may say with David, true from the begin- 
ning to the end. Every type has been illustrated and 
fulfilled by the antitype. There is not one testimony in 
the Bible, relative to Christ, that has not been fulfilled 
in him. Very trifling circumstances apparently have 
been predicted, or typically represented ; and these very 
circumstances have been fulfilled with the utmost ex- 
actitude. The truth of God's word is not seen more in 
anything than in the fulfilment of circumstances which 
from their nature would appear to be wholly fortuitous. 
Among these, the betraying of Christ by one of his dis- 
ciples, the selling him for a certain sum of silver, his 
scourging, nailing to the cross, the piercing of his side 
with a spear, the not breaking his legs, which was a coup 
de grace to all that were crucified, the laying bis body in 
the tomb of a rich man, &c, are circumstances of this 
kind, worthy of the most attentive regard. These were 
all sure, true, and fixed, and were fulfilled to the utmost 
precision. But we cannot wait now to point out dis- 
tinctly those testimonies, show their references, and 
mark their fulfilment. 

5. The operation of these testimonies, and their use, 
are next mentioned. " They make wise the simple." 
The term simple, which is borrowed from the Latin, sim- 


plex, is a metaphor taken from a cord or thread formed 
of one strand, as spun from the wheel ; and is opposed 
to the word complex, which signifies many of such 
strands twisted together, in order to make a rope or 
cable. Applied to man, it signifies one who has no dou- 
ble views, no duplicity or sinister modes of acting ; one 
who is as he appears to be. One who aims at the best 
thing, and pursues it by the best, most legal, and sim- 
plest means. In a theological sense, it means one who 
has nothing in view but the glory of God in the salva- 
tion of his soul. This he is ever seeking, in all his 
reading, hearing, working, and thinking. This one thing 
he does, forgetting what is behind, he presses forward to 
the prize of his high calling. Such a person is ever 
learning wisdom, from every portion of the divine testi- 
monies : when he looks into the Old Testament, he sees 
many things that speak of the Christ that was to come, 
and he is greatly edified. When he consults the New 
Testament, he reads much of the Christ that is come, 
and of the glory that has followed ; and each reading 
increases his knowledge and wisdom. 

The word tis peti, from nns patah, signifies one easily 
drawn aside, or persuaded to anything, whether good or 
bad; and sometimes it means what we call a simpleton, 
one easily drawn aside, which amounts to the definition 
already given : and it is very remarkable, what an influ- 
ence the Word and Spirit of God have upon such per- 
sons. I have known many cases of this kind — persons 
who appeared to have little sense, and little understand- 
ing, till the light of the Word and Spirit shone into their 
minds — their intellect in consequence became highly im- 
proved, and they drank in knowledge as the thirsty land 
does the showers from the clouds; and though before easily 
warped and turned aside, even from good, became as 
steady as steel, and never turned to the right hand or 


to the left from following their God ! In their case, I 
saw two Scriptures fulfilled, that in the text, viz., " The 
testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple ;" 
and " The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err 
therein ;" Isai. xxxv. 8. These could say, "We know that 
the Son of God is come, and he hath given us an under- 
standing, that we might know him that is true, and we 
are in him that is true ; this is the true God and Eternal 
Life ;" 1 John v. 20. 

Some say, "Civilize the heathen, and then teach them 
Christianity." Civilization never was the medium of 
conveying Christianity ; but Christianity invariably brings 
civilization in its tain. Teach them to know God first, 
and they directly feel, from this knowledge, that they 
should cease to do evil, and learn to do well. The bare 
idea of God impresses this upon their hearts, and then 
they feel the necessity of avoiding indolence, intemper- 
ance, and disorderly passions; and hence civilization. I 
have preached to heathens, and to the uncircumcised and 
the unclean, and I never gained an inch of ground by 
previous lessons of domestic economy, &c. I have known 
this plan tried upon a large scale, i. e., civilizing in order 
to christianize, and it totally failed ; but I never found 
an instance where christianizing did not produce civi- 

Without proceeding any further in our examination of 
the other attributes or characteristics of this Laav or 
Revelation of God, which we find in the following verses, 
for which there is not sufficient time, I shall make a 
general statement of what has already been said, and 
apply it to the purpose of the present solemnity. 

1. We have seen the hand of the infinitely wise and 
powerful God, manifested in the formation of the heavens 
and the earth ; and so covering them with the characters 
of his conserving power and providential goodness, as to 


make intelligible to mankind, when attentive to those 
wonderful works, his independent Being, eternal Power, 
and underived Deity; so that all they who ^continue 
atheists, are without apology, and without excuse. 

2. We have seen also how the same kind and merciful 
Being has given us his written law, that, knowing the 
mind of God from himself, we might at once discover 
our duty and our interest; what is right and what is 
wrong — what from the holiness and perfection of his na- 
ture he must hate, and what he must love ; also the wor- 
ship which he requires from man, and the advantages 
which man is to receive from that worship. And we 
have seen at the same time the numerous rites, cere- 
monies, types, and ordinances by which he signified that 
he would yet make greater discoveries of Ms good mill 
towards men, by providing a complete remedy for the spi- 
ritual diseases of the great human family, and connect 
heaven and earth more intimately than they had been 
from the creation. 

3. In tracing the operations of God downward, we 
have seen all those gracious designs executed, all vision 
and prophecy fulfilled — all types, ceremonies, and refer- 
ences to good things to come, realized ; God and man 
connected by the incarnation of the great Messiah ; and 
through his preaching, passion, death, and glorious resur- 
rection, ascension, and mission of the Holy Ghost, life 
and immortality brought to light, and the grace of God, 
that bringeth salvation ta all men, ordered to be pro- 
claimed to all the inhabitants of the earth. 

4. We ourselves have lived, and do live, in those times 
in which this great God is carrying on his glorious work 
of the moral renovation of the world. Those professing 
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, having freely re- 
ceived the unspeakable gift, have felt it their duty to 
endeavour, according to the directions of our blessed 


Lord, to send the records of his salvation to every nation 
and people, and in every tongue ; and thus go into all 
the world, and preach the gospel to every creature : and 
their benevolence and Christian charity have been excited 
to go yet farther, and send multitudes of missionaries to 
every quarter of the globe, with the book of knowledge 
in their hand, and the love of Christ in their hearts, to 
testify to all, that God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only-begotten Son, to the end that all might 
believe on him ; and that they who believed should not 
perish, but have everlasting life. 

To this general statement I have to add, that the 
People whom I here represent — who have been among 
the first, and in most cases the very first, to send the 
glad tidings of salvation to thousands of the most des- 
titute of the inhabitants of the earth — have at present 
one hundred and sixty-six stations in Europe, Africa, 
Asia, and America, which are occupied by two hundred 
and nineteen missionaries, who have left their country, 
their connexions, and friends ; and, taking their lives in 
their hands, have gone among the Gentiles to preach the 
unsearchable riches of Christ. We have seen also that 
God has, in a most remarkable manner, blessed their 
ministry ; that they have now, independently of multi- 
tudes already saved and gone to heaven, not less than 
45,786 true scriptural converts, in church fellowship ; 
and not less than 27,606 of those the servile progeny of 
Ham, slave-negroes in the West India Islands. You 
know that by this work a vast deal of expense is in- 
curred; by the transport of so many missionaries and 
their families across such immense tracts of ocean and 
forest wilds, maintaining them among the heathen — fill- 
ing up their ranks when diminished by death — with 
other incidental expenses, too minute and numerous to 

VOL. I. Q 


be detailed ; that all these expenses have been hitherto 
covered by the people who sit under our ministry ; who 
have ajways shown themselves willing, to the utmost of 
their power, yea, and beyond their power, to divide their 
bread of life with all those who, for lack of it, were 
ready to perish. The same necessity for these benevolent 
exertions still exists. Louder and more numerous calls 
are now heard. " Come over and help us !" is the cry of 
many nations and peoples ; and to hear these cries our ears 
will not be slow, nor our hands unready. Do then, my 
friends, as God has done for you, hear and act according 
to the influence which God's grace has diffused through 
your hearts, and according to the good which his pro- 
vidence has intrusted to your hands. And while you 
help by your property, be not backward' with your prayers; 
for, eminently, in this work, if Paul himself were to 
plant, and Apollos to water, God alone could give the 

On all the earth thy Spirit shower, 

The earth in righteousness renew 
Thy kingdom come, and hell's o'erpower, 

And to thy sceptre all subdue ! 

Like mighty winds, or torrents fierce, 

Let it opposers all o'errun ; 
And every law of sin reverse, 

That faith and love may make all one ! 

Grant this, O holy God and true ! 

The ancient seers thou didst inspire ; 
To us perform the promise due ; 

Descend, and crown us now with fire ' 

From all that dwell below the skies, 
Let the Creator's praise arise ; 
Let the Redeemer's grace be sung 
[n ev'ry land, by every tongue. 


Eternal are thy mercies, Lord ! 

Eternal truth attends thy word ; 

Thy praise shall sound from shore to shore, 

Till sun shall rise and set no more ! 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow ; 
Praise him, all creatures here below ; 
Praise him above, ye heavenly host ; 
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ! 

Amen, ytvoirol 




1 Peter i. 3 — 5. 

3. " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again 
unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the 

4. " To an inheritance incorruptible and undented, and that 
fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 

5. " Who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto sal- 
vation, ready to be revealed in the last time." 

Perhaps a stronger proof cannot be produced from 
universal nature, that man was created in a state of hap- 
piness, than the intense desire which every human being 
feels after it. A desire uniformly felt by every race of 
men, in every country, and through all the ages of the 

The soul, without giving us any distinct ideas of its 
primitive happiness, or of that in which this happiness 
consisted, does not fail to afford us sufficient intimations 
that it has been in such a state ; that it has lost its hap- 
piness, and that it always feels from the operation of that 
wonderful principle called hope, the possibility of being 
restored to that state ; though of the means of that re- 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PETER I. 3 — 5. 347 

storation it has no distinct knowledge : hence, from this 
ignorance of the thing, and of the means of acquisition 
(in any distinct way), it acts without rule, and runs at 
random, seeking in anything and in everything what it 
has lost ; bearing about with it the continual expectation 
that its search must be ultimately crowned with success. 
Yet, in this feeling and the consequent search, we find 
still no distinct idea of the thing sought. There is a 
general. sense of discomfort, occasioned by the loss of 
some good ; a general persuasion that what is lost may 
be found; but where, when, or in what, there is no 
knowledge ; nor would it ever have been otherwise, had 
not divine revelation made the discovery. 

Now this desire after happiness, which is a universal 
human feeling, seems as if planted in the heart by God 
himself. No creature loves evil as such — it is an abhor- 
rence to all flesh. Pain and suffering are universally 
deprecated and execrated ; and the privation of good is 
considered a real evil. Man is miserable, and he cannot 
bear it. He is obliged often to augur evil, he sees every- 
where the possibility of its occurrence, and he is gene- 
rally alarmed, and often to distraction. 

But what is this happiness, so universally desired and 
pursued? It implies, according to some, the gratifica- 
tion of all reasonable desires; and it is generally sup- 
posed that to have things suitable, necessary, convenient, 
and comfortable, would content this universal wish : in 
a word, the mens sana in corpore sano, a healthy or sound 
mind in a healthy body ; and in having everything within 
reach that can keep them so. This, as far as animal na- 
ture is concerned, may be sufficient. 

Mr. Hooker gives a diffuse definition of happiness, 
which, I am afraid, is but little to the purpose : — "Hap- 
piness is that estate whereby we attain, so far as possibly 
may be attained, the full possession of that, which simply 


for itself is to be desired ; and containeth in it, after an 
eminent sort, the contentation of our desires, the highest 
degree of all our perfection." There is not a clause in 
this definition that may not be disputed. Who desires 
anything simply for itself? or desires it because it is that 
which simply for itself is to be desired ? This is mere 
waste of words — man desires happiness for himself, and 
he feels he cannot be happy till he has that which abso- 
lutely gratifies every desire ; in which case, all his wishes 
are satisfied, and nothing is left behind to excite desire, 
as every desire has fully met with its gratification. 

As all souls are of the same nature, and all seek hap- 
piness, it may be fairly presumed that the same thing is 
intended to be the means of rendering all happy — this 
must therefore be a universal and a sovereign good. Men 
seem to suspect each other to be wrong, because of their 
different pursuits ; and from this Mr. Locke thinks that 
" The various and contrary choices that men make in the 
world, argue that the same thing is not good to every 
man alike : this variety of pursuits shows that every one 
does not place his happiness in the same thing." Now 
if, from the nature of the soul, it can be shown that what 
constitutes human happiness must be one thing, and 
this is a sovereign good ; it will from this appear, that 
the whole human race are wrong, and that all are run- 
ning themselves out of breath for no prize. They are 
seeking, not that which can make an immortal spirit 
happy, but that which can gratify and content the ani- 
mal nature. But I have discussed this subject in another 
place QSermon XI.], and therefore shall only add, that 
the soul of man was evidently made for God ; that its 
wishes are immense, if not infinite ; and that nothing 
but God, the Sovereign Good, can gratify those wishes. 
I have only touched the subject here, for the purpose of 
introducing that hope of complete happiness, of which 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 3 5. 349 

the apostle speaks in the text, and which is a subject of 
the utmost consequence to man. 

1. Every man hopes for happiness ; and it is this hope 
that bears him up through all the ills of life. He sees 
and he feels evil, but he hopes for good. Despair is the 
opposite to hope ; where this takes place, a total derange- 
ment of all the mental faculties ensues ; and generally, if 
not soon relieved, the wretched subject dies, or puts an 
end to life. 

2. While we retain our old Saxon word, hopa, hope, 
from hopian, to expect, we espouse the word despair, from 
the French desespoir. In the same language, esperance, 
and espoir, signify hope ; and desesperance, and desespoir, 
despair, the loss of hope, the opposite to hope, the state in 
which there is no expectation of good, happiness, or suc- 
cess. "What then is the proper definition of hope ? The 
following is the most common, and probably the best : 
" The expectation of future good ;" an expectation too, 
that arises from desire. It must be good, else it could not 
be desired ; it must be future, or it would not be an ob- 
ject of expectation — good in possession precludes hope — 
" Hope that is seen (possessed) is not hope ; for what a 
man seeth, why doth he yet hope for ? But if we hope 
for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it /' 
Rom. viii. 24, 25. A thing that was once an object of 
hope may have been attained ; and if so, hope, in reference 
to that, is at an end. Hope is never exercised, but where 
there is a conviction, less or more deep, of the possibility 
of attaining its object. As hope implies desire, it must 
be a natural or moral good that is its object, for nothing 
can be desired that is known to be evil. That which is 
good can alone gratify the heart ; and to gratify is to 
please, satisfy, and content. When Milton puts in the 
mouth of Satan, the following speech, Paradise Lost, 
book iv., line 108 : — 


" So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear, 
Farewell remorse : all good to me. is lost ; 
Evil, be thou my good," — 

the poet does not mean that the nature or operation of 
evil can be changed ; but that the diabolic heart might be 
pleased, satisfied, for the time, and contented with it, as 
a means of gratifying revenge and malice ; as all good was 
then to him beyond the reach and sphere of hope. None 
but the devil could have uttered such a speech, as none 
but that archangel ruined could bring the fellest malice 
and revenge into successful action, so as to derive grati- 
fication from the result. Could Satan have taken evil in 
the place of good, so as to have rested satisfied with it, 
in that moment the nature of evil must have been 
changed to him, and hell cease to be a place of torment. 
But it is a diabolic boast, and has neither truth nor reason 
in it. 

3. In examining this grand subject farther, I would 
observe that hope may be considered in a threefold 
sense: 1. Simple hope. 2. Dead hope. 3. Living 

1. Hope, simply considered in itself — according to its 
definition above, the expectation of future good ; this 
shows the existence of the thing, without activity in 
itself, or operation in reference to its object. It exists, 
but in a state of carelessness and unconcern. This sort is 
nearly common to all men ; is not only without profit to 
them, because not used, but is generally, in its flutterings 
in the breast, like the ignis fatuus, that instead of leading 
aright, leads astray, causing its possessor to rest in mere 
expectation, inoperative and indefinite, without any time 
to commence, or place to act in ; a principle which from 
its misuse rather deceives than helps the soul. In con- 
sequence of this, it has been called delusive hope, false 
hope, vain hope, &c. ; but hope in itself, which is a gift 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 3 — 5. 35] 

from God, is neither deceptive, false, nor vain. It is the 
misuse or abuse of it that deceives, leads astray, fills with 
vanity, &c. If properly used and applied, it may become 
even the anchor of the soul ; and is that power or prin- 
ciple on which the grace of God works, in order to bring 
forth, in the end, that faith by which even mountains are 
removed. A wicked man may have this simple hope, 
and so may a hypocrite, and neither receive benefit from 
it ; yea, they may abuse it to their eternal damage ; and 
thus every power of the soul, and every gift of God, 
may be abused ; and in reference to this we may apply 
the homely but expressive lines of old Francis Quarles : 

" Thus God's best gifts, usurped by wicked ones, 
To poison turn by their con-ta-gi-ons." 

2. Dead hope. I do not mean by this, hope that is 
extinct ; for then it would cease to be hope, or anything 
else. Nor do I mean hope that is entirely inactive, and 
which may on this account be considered as morally 
dead; but I mean that hope which has for its object, 
good things to come, after life is ended; a hope that 
expects fruition of the objects of its attention, when the 
present state of things closes for ever on its possessor. 
Nor do I mean the hope that has for its object the glories 
of the invisible world ; but the hope that misplaces its 
objects — that refers things which belong to the present 
state of being, to a future state ; as it does the things 
which should be received here, in order to prepare for 
glory hereafter. This is a species of religious hope ; it 
has to do with religious matters, such as pardon of sin, 
sanctification of the soul, and the acquisition of those 
graces that constitute the mind that was in Christ ; in a 
word, that holiness without which none shall ever see the 
Lord. It expects none of these in this life ; and thinks 
that no consciousness of having received pardon can take 

q 3 


place before death, if even then ; nor can any person, 
according to this hope, be saved from his sins till his body 
and soul are separated. Hence all its operations are in 
reference to death, and the separate state immediately 
succeeding. This hope, or the perversion of simple hope, 
paralyzes the Christian spirit, and in effect grieves the 
Spirit of God. No man ever receives good from it ; it 
serves indeed to amuse the mind, and in the proper sense 
of the word divert the soul ; it turns away from seeking 
present blessings, because its owner has made up his mind 
that none of these blessings can be received before death, 
and therefore he neither seeks nor expects them. It has 
the form, but it is the bane of every good. In many 
this species of hope, or the abuse of hope, is associated 
with much uncertainty, and sometimes with a degree of 
despair, even in reference to the things which it pro- 
fesses to have for its object, till at last the man doubts the 
immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body ; 
and in fine, the joys of heaven become problematical ! 
This is dead hope — the hope that is looking for no spi- 
ritual good before death; and generally appears to be 
inactive and unconcerned even about them. It is the 
inhabitant of a dead soul — of a lifeless, careless, Christ- 
less professor of Christianity ; one who, though he have 
a name to live, yet is dead ; and who will find, when he 
comes to that bourne where his hope is expected to act 
and be realized, that it is like the giving up of the 
ghost ; he gives up his ghost and his hope together. It 
is also the hope of the wicked — they expect to find God's 
mercy when they come to die ; but the hope of the wicked, 
in death, perisheth. Of such persons none can enter- 
tain hope but themselves. 

3. Living hope. The hope that lives and flourishes 
by hoping ! This is simple hope, in its greatest activity 
and operation ; hope, with all the range of possible good 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 3 — 5. 353 

in its eye, its expectation, and its desire. Its objects are 
necessarily future ; but all is future that is in the least 
degree removed from the present ; hence the future, pro- 
perly speaking, verges on the time that now is. The 
blessings that are necessary now it sees at hand — desires 
the possession — believes the possibility of immediate 
attainment — claims the grace from God through Christ — 
and thus realizes its object. Having receiving this bless- 
ing, it is strengthened to go out after more ; sees, desires, 
and claims the next in course ; receives this, and thus 
realizes another good that a short time before was future, 
and continues to be future still to all others who do not 
act in this way. 

This hope is ever living by receiving. Pardon and 
holiness, the forgiveness of all sin, and purification from 
all unrighteousness, must be attained here. This it sees ; 
of 'this it is convinced; and these blessings are the first 
objects of its attention. It claims them by a living 
energy, through faith ; for hope cannot exist nor act 
without faith ; and by faith is its work made perfect. 
Thus it is ever receiving. All future blessings, belonging 
to the human state of probation, which extends from 
the cradle to the grave, in the whole series of their 
approximations, becoming present, are realized in their 
order; and the innate power of the last-received serves 
to support that which was received before, and thus on 
all the increasing glory there is a defence. 

This hope takes up all God's blessings in their places 
and proper series. There are some of its objects, as stated 
above, which necessarily belong to this life ; others, that 
as necessarily belong to the world to come. It will not 
refer the blessings to be obtained here to the state after 
death ; nor will it attempt to anticipate those blessings 
which belong to eternity, in the present state. It is a 


discriminating grace, for it is ever supported by know 
ledge and faith. It walks uprightly, and therefore 

" Grace is in all its steps, heaven in its eye ; 
In every gesture, dignity and love." 

St. Peter calls this a living hope. God, says he, hath 
begotten us again, «e tXirida faoav, to a living hope ; and 
here he probably refers to his own case, and that of the 
apostles, at the time that the Jews had put Jesus Christ 
to death ; they had actually lost their hope, it had died, 
was become extinct. As it was before founded on the life 
of Christ, who they expected was about to restore the 
kingdom to Israel, when they found that the Jews had 
power to crucify him, that he actually died and was 
buried, and that he lay under the power of death — for 
as yet they had not seen him, nor heard of his resurrec- 
tion — therefore they seem to have lost all hope in him as 
the King of Israel ; but when assured of his resurrec- 
tion, then their hope sprang up afresh. The apostle re- 
presents God as having avayiwnuaQ, legotten them again, 
as giving them a second birth by this resurrection of 
Christ. They began to live a new life, having a lively 
faith in him who, though delivered to death for their 
offences, was raised again for their justification. 

From all this we learn, that hope of pardon, holiness, 
and heaven, depends wholly on the resurrection of Jesus 
Christ from the dead. The atonement was made by his 
passion and death ; the grand sin-offering had been 
made ; but the resurrection was the evidence that this 
was the true sin-offering, and that this sin-offering had 
been accepted by the Lord. 

1 If Christ had not died for man, no soul could have 
been saved. There was no remission of sins without the 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 3 5. 355 

shedding of blood ; and no atonement, sucli as man 
needed, in the shedding of blood, unless that blood had 
been of infinite value. 

2. As Christ was put to death as a malefactor, had he 
not risen again from the dead, it would have been a pre- 
sumptive proof that he had suffered justly. But as he 
did rise according to his own prediction, this was a full 
proof of his innocence and God's acceptance of his 
offering. That crucified body, that pierced heart, could 
never more have been restored to life, but by a miracle of 
the Lord ; and had he been a malefactor, God's power 
would never have been employed in raising a body that 
had suffered the sentence of the law ; as this would have 
been an accrediting of iniquity. The resurreotion, there- 
fore, eternally precludes all suspicion on this head. 

3. The resurrection of Christ was not only a proof of 
his immaculate innocence, and of God's acceptance of the 
sacrificial offering that he had made, but also of our re- 
surrection. It was the human nature of Christ that died ; 
it was the human nature that rose again from the dead. 
It was absolutely necessary that there should be incon- 
testable proof of the reality of Christ's death, in order to 
establish the fact of his resurrection. If it had only 
been a suspended animation, his revivification could have 
been no miracle. But the Jews saw him nailed to the 
cross — the Roman soldiers saw this also. When he and 
the malefactors that were crucified with him, had hung 
the due time, they were examined, to see whether they 
were dead, that if not, the coup de grace might be ad- 
ministered — the breaking of their limbs, to put them out 
of pain. The two malefactors were not quite dead, there- 
fore they brake their bones ; but they found Jesus dead 
already, therefore they brake not his bones ; but to make 
sure work, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a 
spear, and from the wound issued blood and water; a 


full evidence that the spear had traversed the pericar- 
dium, and wounded the heart. And this was no doubt 
what was designed by the act ; to fulfil the purpose of 
the sentence, and to insure the certainty of his death. 

After this act, that body never could he restored to life 
but by the miraculous power of God ; and that miracu- 
lous power never could be applied to accredit iniquity or 

That all imposture might be prevented in his rising 
again, they took care to seal the tomb with the governor's 
seal, which it was death to counterfeit or break.; and a 
guard of Roman soldiers were set to keep watch, till the 
third day should be elapsed after which Christ had said 
he would rise again. Notwithstanding all this care and 
caution, the resurrection took place — was sufficiently evi- 
dent — was attested by the guards themselves, — but who 
were persuaded by the Jewish rulers to tell a most clumsy 
falsehood, which confuted itself, that they fell asleep 
(which was death if they did), and that while they slept, 
" His disciples came and stole away the body." If they 
were asleep, they could not know whether he rose him- 
self, or was raised by others ; and if by others, how could 
they know that they were his disciples, as they acknow- 
ledged that at the time they were asleep ? The soldiers 
got money, and they reported what they were desired to 
tell, and the governor was persuaded to wink at the thing. 
See the account, Matt, xxvii. 62 — 66; xxviii. 11 — 15. 

But this falsity and malevolence were defeated by the 
manifestation of Christ himself, who, after he was risen, 
showed himself openly to his disciples, ate and drank with 
them for about fifty days ; was seen and known by many, 
and at one time by more than 500 persons ! See the 
different Gospels, and 1 Cor. xv. 3 — 8. 

Such was the evidence of these facts to the disciples, 
who were so influenced by them (though naturally hesi- 

A DISCOURSE OX I. PET. I. 3 5. 357 

tating and doubtful), that they could never doubt more ; 
but with the greatest power bore testimony to the resur- 
rection of our Lord ; and the evidence was so great, ac- 
cumulative, and conclusive, that many even of the Jewish 
priests became obedient to the faith ; and multitudes, 
both of Jews and Gentiles, were converted to Christianity. 
Thus then Peter and his brethren were " begotten again 
unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ 
from the dead." 

4. The ascension of Christ to heaven, and his sitting 
down on the right hand of God, is a proof that he has 
regained the forfeited inheritance of mankind; and this in- 
heritance, all his genuine followers have a right to expect. 
Hence the apostle says, " We are begotten to an inherit- 
ance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away." 

It is an inheritance. The children of God only can 
possess it ; those who are begotten again — that have had 
a new birth, being born of the Spirit. By our first birth 
we are born children of the old corrupt Adam — children 
of wrath, i. e., condemned persons, dead in law — and who 
cannot inherit ; for, having sinned and been traitors 
against God, we have forfeited the inheritance. But as 
Christ has died and risen again from the dead, by a 
second birth — the being born from above — we become 
children of God by faith in him ; " and if children, then 
heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." But 
we must become children in order to be heirs. For to 
none but these can eternal life be given; for, even in 
heaven, the lot is dealt out according to law ; if chil- 
dren, then heirs — if not children, then not heirs. 

This inheritance is, — 

1. Incorruptible, AQQaprov. It has no principle of dis- 
solution or decay in it ; and therefore must be totally 
different from this earth. The title is good ; it is legally 
conveyed ; there is no flaw in it ; it cannot be vitiated. 


Originally it was a gift from God's eternal bounty ; and 
though it was lost by sin, yet the forfeited gift was re- 
covered by purchase, and a most valuable consideration 
was paid down for it. It is signed, sealed, and witnessed, 
and is ready to be delivered ; for the time of seisin, or 
taking possession, is just at hand. 

2. It is undefiled, A/uavrov. It has not only no prin- 
ciples or seeds of dissolution in itself, but it cannot be 
defiled — nothing impure can enter it ; therefore its cor- 
ruption or deterioration is impossible. 

3. It fadeth not away, Apapavrov. It cannot wither. 
Neither the soil, the air, nor the water can ever change. 
The soil cannot be exhausted ; the air cannot be conta- 
minated ; and the water cannot be corrupted. It is always 
in bloom. It is a metaphor taken from those flowers that 
never lose their hue nor their fragrance. From the 
Greek word ajiapavroQ, we have our flowers called ama- 
ranths, because they preserve both hue and apparent 
freshness for a long time. This inheritance is as unfail- 
ing as its heirs are; their day of probation is past; their 
lot is fixed ; they can sin no more ; paradise cannot be 
lost a second time ; therefore the inheritance is for ever. 
This inheritance can never more go out of the family; 
it is their own — unchangeably so. Not tenants-at-will, 
under the caprice of a landlord — nor the inheritance a 
place that can be assailed or taken from them either by 
force or fraud. It is no such tenure, nor so exposed. 
Their right in it is indefeasibly established. Satan 
attempted once to dispossess them eternally of the ter- 
restrial inheritance, and all that was dependant upon it ; 
and though he partly succeeded, yet God devised means 
that his banished should not be expelled fom him. Jesus 
repurchased and reconveyed it unalienably. So the 
attempt of the great adversary has been completely de- 
feated. Glory be to God for his unspeakable gift ! 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 3 5. 359 

On the subject of this inheritance of the people df 
God, I met with a very curious piece in an ancient Latin 
MS. on vellum, that contains Discourses for all the 
Sabbaths of the Year; how early composed I cannot 
tell, but the collection was made by John Felton, vicar 
of St. Mary Magdalene, Oxford, and written about the 
year 1450. I shall translate this curious piece as a spe- 
cimen of the theology of our forefathers. He observes : 

" It was a custom in this country (England), that if a 
tyrant or oppressor had driven the true heir from his 
inheritance, and appropriated it to himself, and the 
oppressed man could not get any legal redress (for on 
the side of the adversary there was power), his last re- 
medy was to challenge the tyrant to single combat ; and 
if he overcame him, he was reinstated in his inheritance, 
and the oppressor lost his life. But if the lawful heir 
were an old and infirm man, and could not undertake 
the combat ; if he had a stout healthy son, who was a 
knight or a soldier, the law permitted him to fight the 
tyrant or oppressor, in his father s stead, as the right of 
the inheritance would, on the father's demise, fall to 
him. In like manner, the Scripture gives us to under- 
stand that Adam, the first man, was right and true heir 
of Paradise ; but was driven from it by the craft and 
subtlety of the devil. And although he might have 
claimed the combat, in vindication of his right to the 
inheritance, yet, being old and feeble, he was incapable 
of doing it. But his son, a strong active warrior, claimed 
the battle in place of his father, fought with and over- 
came the tyrant and oppressor, and gained a glorious 
victory for his father and brethren. And having done 
so, he conveyed the inheritance to his father and brethren 
by the following CHARTER :— 

"Know all men present and to come, and all in 


heaven and in earth, that I, JESUS CHRIST, Son of 
God the Father, and the Virgin Mary, God and Man, 
on account of my inheritance unjustly and traitorously 
taken away from my family, and long detained in the 
hand of the adversary, have descended into the stadium, 
fought with and overcome him, and gained a glorious 
victory; by which I have recovered and taken proper 
seisin of my inheritance, at the passover ; and with my 
heirs have received it according to the appointment of 
my Father, to have and to hold, freely, fully, and peace- 
ably, in length and in breadth, for ever and ever, on the 
simple condition of paying annually and daily to God 
the tribute of a clean heart and pure mind. In testi- 
mony of which, I have written this present charter with 
my blood, and order it to be read publicly by the whole 
world ; and have affixed to it the seal of my divinity, 
with the testimony of the Father and the Holy Spirit 
for these Three give witness in heaven, 

" Written, read, confirmed, and delivered to men on 

Mount Calvary, on the sixth day of the passover, in the 

five thousand two hundred and thirty-third year from 

the creation of the world. To remain open and public 


The ordeal by battle or single combat, in doubtful 
cases, where it was supposed that God alone could 
decide, was allowed in England till between the 11th 
and 12th centuries, as well as the ordeal by fire, hot iron, 
scalding water, &c. ; but that to which the author here 
alludes was in high repute. The reader will at once 
see, that the inheritance was the same as that of which 
St. Peter speaks here. The tyrant, the devil; the old 
infirm man, Adam after his fall ; the warlike Son, the 
Lord Jesus; the combat, his passion and death; the 
Magna Charta, or great charter of human salvation, the 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 2 6- 361 

New Testament ; the tribute, or acknowledgment for 
possession, a new heart and a holy life. For without 
holiness no man can see God; and without practical 
holiness, no man can please him. By allegories of this 
kind were our forefathers instructed in the simple truths 
of the gospel. It is worthy of remark, that the charter 
was delivered to all men, was published to all men, and 
was ordered to be everywhere read. The Scriptures had 
not at that time been authoritatively withheld from the 

Having referred to the ancient way in which lost in- 
heritances were recoverable, I come now to consider the 
remaining characteristics of this inheritance. 

4. Reserved in heaven for you. Such a place as that 
described above is not to be expected upon earth. It is 
that which was typified by the earthly Canaan ; and in 
reference to which, the patriarchs endured all kinds of 
trials and difficulties in this life, as seeing him who is 
invisible. Therefore the inheritance must be after this 
life ; for to this, as its ultimate point, does hope tend. 
There it is to be kept, Ttrr\pn\>.ivr\v, guarded and watched, 
for them to whom it belongs ; and there is no fear of its 
being lost or alienated. 

5. But for whom is it kept ? Ans. For them who are 
kept by tlie power of God; tovq iv 8wap.u Otov <j>povpov- 
titvovQ, for them who are defended as in a fortress, by the 
power of God. There is a remarkable correspondence 
between the two verbs used in this sentence : the first 
verb, rriptb), signifies to keep watch, guard, and rijpj/o-ie 
is a place of custody, or prison ; and the other verb, 
<S>povptb>, from ^povpoe, a sentinel, signifies to keep as under 
a military guard. The true disciples of Christ are 
under the continual watchful care of God, and the in- 
heritance is guarded for them. In some countries mili- 
tary posts are continually kept up on the confines, in 


order to prevent irruptions from a neighbouring people ; 
and in many places heirs, while in their minority, are 
kept in fortified places, under military guards, lest they 
should sustain any injury, or be carried away. 

The heirs in the text are kept by the power of God ; 
tv SwafiH Qeov, by the mighty miraculous power of God; 
for nothing less is necessary to keep and preserve in this 
state of continual trial, a soul from the contagion that is 
in the world. God's providence is the safe place, and 
God's power is the guard in that safe place. As it re- 
quires the same power to preserve that it required to 
create, so nothing less than the sovereign power of God 
will suffice to keep that soul in a state of purity which 
that power has purified. Thus the power and grace 
which save us are still necessary to keep us in the saved 

But how is this power exerted ? Ans. By faith. He 
that shall ultimately get the inheritance is he who shall 
be found faithful unto death. Faith interests the power 
of God in behalf of his follower ; and the power of God 
preserves the inheritance for the man, and the man for 
the inheritance. No persevering without this power, 
and no power without faith. The oracle of God is, 
" Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the 
crown of life." This is salvation — redemption from sin 
in and during life, and glory after death. 

6. This salvation, o-wrjjpia, this final state of safety, is 
ready to be revealed ; ng oiiirripiav iroi\ir\v cnroicaXvtpOiivai, 
it is prepared to be revealed. The oxen and fatlings are 
killed, and all things are ready for the marriage. There 
is but a short step between any man and death ; and 
there is but a hairs-breadth between the true believer 
and glory. But it will not be fully revealed till the last 
time. The inheritance is prepared, but its glories will 
not be revealed till we have done with life — till we have 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 3 5. 363 

passed through our probation, having held fast faith and 
a good conscience. 

Some by this clause understand the deliverance of the 
Christians at the sackage of Jerusalem by the Romans ; 
the end of the Jewish polity being called the last time ; 
others refer it to the day of judgment, and the glorifica- 
tion of the body and soul in heaven. But it may -with 
equal probability be applied to the gospel dispensation, 
for it is the last, and shall not be succeeded by any other ; 
and it is during this dispensation that all the miracles of 
God's grace shall be wrought. Here, under the conti- 
nual influence of the grace of God, the soul is to be 
saved. In the other world, the issue of this salvation is 
to be found. Indeed, the time in which we live may 
be called the last time ; in this we have our last day ; 
and how near may this last day be ! The end of all 
things is at hand. The end of the enjoyments of the 
nicked — the end of the trials of the godly. To all of 
us the Judge is at the door, and the kingdom of heaven 
is open to all believers. Hallelujah! The Lord God 
omnipotent reigneth ! 

Though there has been a general application of the 
substance of this discourse during its progress, yet it 
would not be well to leave such momentous things 
without some inquiries relative to our knowledge of the 
subject, and our experience of its truths. 

You have heard a fact stated, viz., the whole of man- 
kind are in pursuit of happiness, and but few find what 
was designed for all. And why? Because they seek 
it not where it may be found. Some miss it through 
ignorance ; some through unsettledness of character. 

Have you attained it? You who are so fully in- 
structed in the nature of this blessing, and the source 
whence it springs ? You know that it is to be obtained 


in the possession of true religion ; in the life of God in 
the soul. Will you seek in earthly things, in worldly 
pleasures, profits, honours, &c, what you know can be 
found in God alone ? If you will, and die in this state, 
how awful must the account be which by and by you 
must render to God ! As you know not what a moment 
may bring forth, delay not to give your hearts fully to 
him, that he may purify them from an evil conscience, 
and fill them with his holiness. 

I have spoken to you much about hope — the simple, 
the dead, and the living hope. What sort is yours? 
Are you also putting off the good things of the gospel 
till the day after death ? If so, do you call this wisdom, 
or madness ? 

Have you got the operative living hope — the hope 
that, lives by hoping.? See, then, that you give it its 
full scope. Let it be the pioneer for your soul ; let it 
get forward, descry the route, and clear the way. Keep 
it alert ; and let faith act its part in conjunction with 
your hope. 

You have also heard much about the inheritance of 
saints in light. Do you see your own inheritance there ? 
Are you, after the example of your Lord, for the joy 
that is before you, enduring the cross, and despising the 
pain ? Do you know that your treasure is in heaven, 
by feeling that your hearts are there ? 

Do you anticipate its blessedness ? Does the Spirit 
of God bear witness with your spirit that you are a^hild 
of God ? And if a child, then a heir. 

But are you scripturally and experimentally assured 
of your sonship ? Can you bear to be in doubt on a 
subject of such awful importance ? Are you struggling 
after earthly possessions, rising early, sitting up late, 
and eating the bread of carefulness, that you may in- 

A DISCOURSE ON I. PET. I. 3 — 5. 365 

crease your earthly property, or accumulate wealth, while 
your desires are languid, and your prayers lifeless, in 
reference to this permanent eternal good ? 

There is an inheritance, yea, a kingdom for you ; mil 
you let any one take your crown ? 

But you think you hare a good hope through grace. 
Well, are you kept in the faith ? Is yours as strong as 
it ever was? Does it live as much in heaven as it 
formerly did ? It formerly removed mountains ; is it 
now stumbled at mole-hills ? 

When you had most hope, faith, and love, you needed 
more, in order to qualify you fully for heaven. If you 
have less now, are you getting to glory ? 

But you can say, " My heart and my flesh long for 
the living God." Then you are near to the fulness of 
the blessing of the gospel of peace. Hear one word 
which may be applied to your case, " If you seek me, 
let those go away." Part with everything, so that you 
may gain a full meetness for the inheritance. God does 
not desire you to cast anything away that is useful or 
profitable. He will strip you only of rags, weights, and 

You say you have many trials in the way. And what 
way is there that is exempt from them ? Take courage ! 
He hath said, " Cast thy burden on the Lord, and he 
will sustain thee ;" that is, he will bear both thee and 
thy load. Remember, all things are possible to him that 

Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees 

And looks to that alone ; 
Laughs at impossibilities, 

And cries, " It shall be done ! " 

Keep still in view the great Sacrificial Offering. He 
has purchased all blessings by his own blood ; and he 


has opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. 
Continue looking unto Jesus! Hear him preaching — 
see him suffering, dying, rising, reigning ; and you can 
never more he troubled with doubts concerning the 
goodness of God, and his readiness to save to the utter- 
most all that come unto him through the Son of his 

thou Fountain of mercy ! Prepare us all for, and 
take us at last to thy eternal glory, through Christ Jesus ! 



Philippians iv. 4—7. 

4. Rejoice in the Lord alway ; and again I say, Rejoice. 

5. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at 


6. Be careful for nothing ; hut in everything by prayer and sup- 

plication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known 
unto God. 

7. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall 

keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 

One thing is peculiarly remarkable in Christianity ; it 
gives blessings and talents to all, and finds employment 
for all these blessings and talents. 

Every member of the church of Christ has something 
to do in and for that church. 1. We find from the con- 
text, that two women, Euodias and Syntyche, had la- 
boured with the apostle — that they were valuable and 
useful members of the church — that there were some 
minor points on which these pious women differed ; and 
that their usefulness might not be hindered, the apostle 
exhorted them to be of the same mind in the Lord ; for 
without a union of sentiment and affection it is not 
likely that they could labour together with so much 

2. He entreats a true yoke-fellow of his at Philippi, 
to give all possible assistance to these good women ; 

VOL. I. B 

368 christian moderation; 

who doubtless were employed in visiting, instructing, 
and relieving the sick ; and he urges this duty on his 
fellow apostle, on the ground that those women, cwq- 
6\r)aav, had wrestled together with him in the work of the 

3. As he had appointed to all their work, so he showed 
them all that it was their privilege to be happy in that 
work ; and therefore says, Rejoice alway, and again I say, 
Rejoice. As if he had said, It is your privilege to be con- 
stantly happy ; but there is no happiness but in the Lord, 
and those who rejoice must rejoice in him. That this 
might be the case, he exhorts them, ver. 4, " Let your 
moderation be known unto all men ;" and urges it from 
this consideration, " The Lord is at hand." 

I. Before I enter into the particular examination of 
the first clause in this verse, which shall be the principal 
subject of my discourse, I must say a few things on the 
latter clause, viz., " The Lord is at hand ;" as there is a 
difference of opinion among commentators on the mean- 
ing of this phrase. 

1. Grotius, and several others, have supposed that not 
only the primitive Christians in general, but the apostles 
themselves, were under the continual conviction that the 
day of judgment was at hand; that this is the point 
which the apostle has in view in the expression — " The 
Lord is at hand ;" and that from the conviction which 
they had of the proximity of this awful event, they used 
the exhortation on all convenient occasions, as a spur to 
diligence, and a motive to perseverance. Grotius is cer- 
tainly wrong in his supposition ; for the passages which 
he referred to this event, belong solely to our Lord's 
coming to execute judgment upon the disobedient Jews, 
in the subversion of their state. To suppose that the 
apostles, under the inspiration of the Almighty, could 
have been under such a mistake, would go to the destruc- 


tion of their credibility; for nearly 1800 years have 
elapsed since that time, and the final judgment has not 
yet taken place : therefore they must have been most 
capitally mistaken ; and all the doctrines, cautions, exhor- 
tations, &c, which they delivered in reference to this 
imaginary event, must be all erroneous, and consequently 
should be expunged from the Sacred Writings. But 
when we apply the Scriptures in question to the desola- 
tions which were then coming on the Jewish people 
and state (and they can apply to nothing else), the 
event shows they were divinely inspired, because the 
predictions were punctually fulfilled, and the exhortations 
in reference to them appropriate and highly applicable. 

2. The clause has been understood by others-as having 
something cautionary or monitory in it, as if the apostle 
had said, See that you do all right, for the Lord is ever 
present, and his eye is upon you. He has appointed 
you your work — he offers you grace to enable you to 
perform it aright — he is the sole Judge of it — and he 
alone will punish or reward it, 

3. As the Christian church has selected this portion 
to be read the Sabbath previously to Christmas-day, her 
design was to call to the remembrance of the faithful the 
blessings which the Advent of Christ has procured, and 
to lead them to expect a repetition of the same blessings. 
According to this view of the subject, " The Lord is at 
hand !" the mind should go forward in the expectation 
of peculiar blessings and mercies at this season of the 
year. This is a use of the present portion, which 1 hope 
none of my hearers will neglect. 

I would not dismiss this part of my subject without 
making a few remarks in reference to our profiting. 

1. Jesus came and destroyed the Jewish polity, ac- 
cording to his prediction. Let this teach us that every 
b 2 


prediction of God is absolutely true— that all that remain 
yet to be fulfilled shall be fulfilled in their season, as 
those have been, of whose accomplishment we have had 
the fullest evidence. 

2. As it is no less true that God is always at hand, let 
us endeavour so to begin, continue, and end every work, 
that it may meet with his approbation ; which it cannot 
meet with unless it bring him glory, us good, and our 
neighbour profit. It is a most consolatory thought, that 
God is ever nigh us, protecting us with the shield of his 
power, directing us by the counsel of his Spirit, and 
providing for body and soul out of the endless stores of 
his providence and grace. 

3. As the season is at hand in which we commemo- 
rate the incarnation of our Lord, let us expect especial 
blessings. It is for this purpose, as we have seen, that 
our Church selects this passage, and appoints it to be 
read the Sabbath before the Nativity, that the people of 
God might have their expectations enlarged, and in con- 
sequence, actually receive an increase of every grace of 
Christ's Spirit. The subject taken up in this threefold 
point of view cannot but administer both edification 
and improvement. The use of it in reference to the 
grand subject of the text, we shall afterwards consider. 

I come now to my main point, and which I believe 
to be the main point the apostle had in view, " Let your 
moderation be known unto all men." 

I believe the term moderation is to be applied to the 
passions and operations of the human mind ; and that 
as the apostle exhorts that moderation should regulate 
and govern the whole, so he intimates that without this 
moderation there will be a sinful excess on one hand, or 
a sinful deficiency on the other. 

The original word, tmiiKris, from tin, upon, and cikw 


I yield, though it may be applied to meekness, gentleness, 
and patience, yet, from the connexion in which it stands 
here, it is sufficiently evident that our translators have 
given it its proper meaning, by rendering it moderation. 
We may, therefore, suppose the apostle to say, As the 
Lord is at hand, and you have a great work to do, in 
which both your soul and body must be employed ; take 
heed that all your passions and appetites be properly 
regulated and directed, that there may be no sinful defi- 
ciency or exuberance in any ; that ye may do everything 
from a proper motive, in its proper time — in its due 
place — in its necessary proportion — and in reference to 
its proper #nd. 

Moderation, from modus, a measure, whether to ascer- 
tain length or quantity, is a very proper term to express 
a ruling principle applied to the passions, feelings, opera- 
tions, or excursions of the mind. 

By passion, I mean something in the mind that is 
acted on by something without ; in consequence of which 
certain feelings are produced which form themselves into 
what are called desires and aversions. 

Desires are excited by the seeing, feeling, or hearing 
of things which appear to be suitable, useful, and pro- 

Aversions are excited by seeing, feeling, or hearing of 
things which are apprehended to be unsuitable, unprofit- 
able, and injurious. 

Perhaps all the passions of the human mind may 
be, with propriety, reduced to the above simple classifi- 

Desires will include all the concupiscible passions • 
aversions, all the irascible. 

Under the first head we may class desire, simply con- 
sidered ; hope, springing from desire ; and love, produced 
by the realization of hope. 


Under the second, we may class dislike, fear, anger, 
terror, hatred, and the like. 

All these passions, whether concupiscible or irascible, 
imply some degree of acquaintance with the things that 
are their objects. 

In the first case, that things do exist which are desir- 
able in themselves, and attainable by proper means. 

In the second case, that there are things which are 
evil ,in themselves, and may possibly occur ; unless op- 
posed by proper preventatives. 

Good, real or supposed, is always the object of desire. 

Evil, real or imaginary, is always the object of aver- 

1. The nature of the soul must be changed before 
it can desire evil, knowing it to be such — and before 
it can hate good, when convinced of its goodness, and 
particularly when convinced that that good is attainable. 
Desire is opposed to aversion ; love, to hatred ; hope, to 

Desire is excited on the knowledge of the existence 
of an attainable good. The good once possessed or 
enjoyed produces love. Properly speaking, we cannot 
love a good that is not enjoyed. God himself is not 
loved till enjoyed : " We love him because he first loved 
us." Previously to enjoyment, all is desire — but desire 
more or less intense, according to our apprehension of 
the excellence, usefulness, and profitableness of the good 
we have in prospect. 

Desire associates to itself, hope — " hope is the expecta- 
tion of future good." The soul may consume in desire, 
because there is no enjoyment ; fruitless longings drink 
up the spirit. Hope deferred, says the wise man, makes 
the heart sick — utterly disappointed, slays it. But when 
the desire cometh — when the thing desired is possessed, 
then, says the same authority, it is a tree of life — its 


fruit, or, in other words, the enjoyment of the thing 
desired and hoped for, is the food of the soul ; hecause 
it is found to be fitting, useful, profitable, &c. 

Despair is not a passion. Despair is the utter and 
final disappointment of hope. It is a conviction that the 
thing desired and hoped for is absolutely and eternally 
unattainable. In this case desire does not exist ; because 
desire always implies, not only the knowledge of the ex- 
istence of a certain good, but also that there is a possi- 
bility of its attainment. Wishes may subsist with despair, 
and thus modify themselves ; " that such a thing were 
attainable ! but it is not ; it is for ever, eternally impos- 
sible !" This may show us the proper difference between 
wish and desire. 

2. Where desire, hope, and love cannot exist, there 
aversion, despair, and hatred must live Hatred pro- 
duces malice ; mahxe, revenge. But revenge, malice, and 
hatred are not properly passions. They are the irre- 
gular, unbridled, unmoderated workings of aversion ; as 
foolish fondness, languishing hope, and pining wishes 
are not passions, but the exuberance, the unbridled and 
unmoderated workings, of desire. 

As the soul is naturally led to desire good and hate 
evil, and as good may be lost and evil acquired, God 
has set before man life and death — a blessing and a curse. 
If the life and blessing are not attained, then death and 
cursing must take place ; the Gospel, therefore, holds out 
to our desire and expectation every possible good — such 
good as is suited to the nature of the soul, and to the 
state and condition of a human being ; a good that can 
never be useless must ever be profitable, and will endure 
eternally. On the other hand, it exhibits to our view a 
real and substantial evil — the possibility of the loss of all 
good for time and eternity, and the possession of all evil 
— everything that the soul can suffer from unavailing 

374 christian moderation; 

wishes — endlessly blasted hopes — and deep sinking and 
illimitably overwhelming despair ; and this glorious and 
benevolent system shows all this final despair to be 
only the consequence of an obstinate rejection of prof- 
fered good. To excite desire, hope, and love, God un- 
bosoms his endless mercy to us in Christ Jesus. Here 
is everything that the soul can desire, which is suitable 
to its nature, and perfective of that nature in time and 

The work of his grace begins on the passions. By the 
teaching of his Spirit we are called from imaginary to 
real good. By the operations of his grace sin is forgiven, 
and the peace of God communicated. The work of the 
Spirit is to refine and rectify the passions of man ; not 
to create new ones, nor to destroy old ones, but to influ- 
ence, purify, regulate, direct, and moderate the whole. 
We did not lose one passion by the call; we do not 
gain one by regeneration. Every passion we have is 
essential to the being of the soul ; and if we had any 
other passions than those which we possess, we could 
not be creatures of the same class : we, therefore, could 
lose none, and can gain none if our identity and link 
in the chain, or degree in the scale of beings, is to be 

Sin has defiled the whole ; grace is to purify and refine 
them. Sin has rendered all disorderly and irregular; 
grace is to regulate the whole, and moderate their ope- 
rations. The apostolic counsel, "Let your moderation 
be known unto all," is another word for, " Be ye saved 
into the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of peace." 
Get evil cast out ; get good brought in. Get from under 
the government of irregular passions and appetites ; and 
come under the direction and government of the cor- 
recting and harmonizing spirit of the God of light and 
order. In order to have the passions regulated, we 


must endeavour to get an acquaintance with our own 
minds. How few know anything of what is within 
them ! Hence, not knowing our passions, we have no 
rule by which to guide them; and they are under no 

Do nothing without thought. Let this be a sacred 
rule from which you will never permit your soul to de- 
part. To act on the immediate impulse of passion or 
feeling, is the property of a brute. When anything 
is proposed to be said or done, consider the possibility of 
doing or saying too little or too much. The rule of 
moderation must be here applied. Bring the subject 
immediately before your mind : let attention consider it, 
judgment weigh it, mill or resolution determine con- 
cerning it, as to what is to be done, how much or how 
little, and when and how. 

We are always in extremes, or prone to them ; mode- 
ration seldom rules. What are all the vagaries, irregu- 
larities, and extravagances of man, but transgressions of 
this sacred rule — moderation ? 

Be determined to act when action is necessary; to 
perform what is necessary, and no more ; and never to be 
satisfied with doing less than is required. Moderation 
will also dictate with respect to the place, the time, and 
the manner. 

Every place is not equally proper for a particular 
action; therefore, select the place that is proper. All 
times are not equally good. An action, not done in pro- 
per time, may not only be useless, but injurious ; which, 
if done in proper time, would have been highly profit- 
able. Qui cito dat, bis dot. He who does a thing in time, 
does it twice. 

The manner also should be particularly studied : a 
bad mode of doing an action of the highest importance 
may render it useless or disgusting, and spoil all its 

r 3 


fruit. An action inconsiderable in itself, may be ren- 
dered productive of great utility and pleasure by an ap- 
propriate and gracious manner. In all these things let 
your moderation be known unto all men. 

Apply this rule also to your attachments, and to your 
opinions. Be not hasty in forming friendships or inti- 
macies ; appearances are seldom sure guides : they may 
be good land-marks; but examine the road and every 
bearing ; connect these appearances with spirit, temper, 
action, manner, and judge from the whole ; and then the 
judgment is likely to be according to the rule of modera- 

Opinion and judgment are often confounded ; but they 
are very different. Opinion is generally formed on ap- 
pearance, judgment on investigation. Opinions are often 
crude, irrelevant, and inconsistent ; judgment is system- 
atic, regular, and consistent. The former is the fruit of 
passion or feeling, the latter of reason. 

In religious and political opinions, men are greatly 
divided. Every man thinks his own right; for if he 
did not think so, he would not adopt it. Each, there- 
fore, should give another credit for his sincerity and up- 
rightness in what he professes to believe ; and not en- 
deavour to obtrude his own opinion upon his neighbour, 
unless he can give him a sufficient reason that his is 
right, and that his neighbour's is wrong. This will lead 
to discussion, and discussion may produce moderation. 

Moderation, in reference to a religious or political opi- 
nion, is widely different from what is termed indifference 
about religion, politics, &c. Moderation avoids excesses 
of all kinds, while laboriously studious to preserve the 
golden mean. Indifference is carelessness and unconcern 
whether the thing be true or false, right or wrong. To 
indifference, all systems of religion and politics are the 
same. The indifferent man is a latitudinarian in religion : 


he has no fixed creed, nor does he think it of import- 
ance to form one. In politics, his indifference so far pre- 
vails, that he cares not what form of government he is 
under. Arbitrary power and rational liberty are to him 
the same, provided he suffer not under one of them in 
his person or in his property. To him the British Con- 
stitution, and that of Spain, are equally good. A per- 
son of an opposite mind is generally a fury, if not influ- 
enced by moderation. All who are not of his religious 
opinions are heretics, and should be committed to the 
flames ; all who are not of his political creed are traitors, 
and should be expatriated or hanged. In such cases, 
how much need for the apostle's advice, " Let your mode- 
ration be known unto all." 

The more common matters to which moderation should 
be applied, I have left unnoticed : he must have but a 
little religion and less sense, who does not see that he 
should be moderate in his food, sleep, clothing, domestic 
expenses, pursuits of whatever kind, and in everything 
that concerns him, either as an agent or a patient. To 
give this exhortation the fullest effect, let us remember 
the manner in which the apostle enforces it : " The Lord 
is at hand." He is your Judge — his eye is ever upon 
you — he hates evil — he loves good ; all excesses in action 
and passion are opposed to the order and harmony of 
his Spirit, and his administration among men. He is at 
hand also to help you — to support you in trials — succour 
you against temptations, to direct your hearts into his 
love and fear ; and, in a word, to give you grace accord- 
ing to your day. 

II. Having considered this important branch of the 
apostle's exhortation, let us see how the other parts con- 
cord with this, and the views of it which have been 
already presented. 

" Be careful for nothing," ^rfiiv fitpiixvan, " Be not 


anxiously concerned about anything." Carefulness, cir- 
cumspection, and diligence are never prohibited by the 
gospel ; on the contrary, they are strongly recommended 
and enforced. He who is without care, in the proper 
sense of the word, is without prudence, common sense, 
and reason; but anxiety, which argues doubtfulness, 
diffidence, distrust, and perturbation of mind, is always 
ruinous. The anxious man has no confidence in him- 
self—all is hurry and confusion — apprehension and dis- 
may : he has no confidence in his God, either in his 
providential management of the world, or in the displays 
of his grace and mercy : his mind is unhinged ; he is a 
prey to conflicting passions, each of which predominates 
by turns. In the present, he is miserable; and every 
future prospect is gloomy and distressing. Anxious 
carhing care, is the very opposite to moderation. By 
the former, the government and balance of the soul are 
lost; by the latter, they are preserved. The anxious 
mind is a hurried mind : it is necessarily distracted ; and, 
in consequence, always indecisive. He is tossed about 
with illusive hopes, every one of which terminates in dis- 
appointment, because not founded in reason or proba- 
bility; and he is tortured with fears, which have no 
place but in his own imagination. He is without prayer 
— without confidence — and without God : and all his la- 
bour is marred, and his life poisoned, by the anxiety he 
feels for the issue of everything, and the gloomy appre- 
hensions he has that the result will be evil. In a word, 
he is a burden to himself, and a plague to others. 

To prevent such a state of mind, the apostle prescribes 
moderation, on the consideration mentioned before, the 
Lord is at hand. To show the use of this, he exhorts 
that " in all things our requests should be made known 
unto God by prayer and supplication with thanks- 

A DISCOURSE ON PHIL. IV. 4 — 7- 37-^ 

It may be said, " How can any considerate man be 
free from anxiety, who is conscious that there is so much 
natural and moral evil in the world, and who cannot 
foresee what is in futurity ; but has reason to conclude, 
from what has taken place, that every arriving moment 
will come laden with trouble, disappointment, affliction, 
and death?" It may be farther asserted, "That the 
changes and chances of this mortal life are subjects of 
the most serious and solemn apprehension : because 
they come unforeseen, they cannot be prevented; and 
not being known, no provision can be made against 

To meet this objection properly, we must allow that 
there are what we call chances in the world, i. e., acci- 
dents and occurrences, which, howsoever under the direc- 
tion of Divine Providence, appear to us unconnected, 
insulated, and fortuitous. And that these chances pro- 
duce changes, which could not enter into the comprehen- 
sion of prudence or foresight to descry, is also to be con- 
ceded. But what is all this to the point, as long as there 
verily is a God who ruleth in the earth, and who loves 
mankind ? Chances or accidental occurrences in human 
affairs are under his eye and government. To the 
changes produced by them, He can give what direction 
he pleases. The man who trusts in his God, need fear 
no evil ; for should the chance produce a change which, 
in its natural operation, would be unfriendly to him ; the 
power of God can turn it aside, or give it a contrary di- 
rection, so that it shall not come nigh to him to do him 
evil. God has way everywhere, and all things serve the 
purposes of his will ; and it is his will and purpose to 
save to the uttermost all that come to him through the 
Son of his love. 

"Whatever a religious man's request may be, let him 
make it known unto God, whether it concern his present 


or his future well-being. He wants a blessing now ; let 
the request be made known. He is afraid of coming 
evil j let him pray for protection and safety. Prayer, 
which is the desire of the heart, is also the language of 
dependance ; and without dependance on God for con- 
tinual direction and protection, anxiety is unavoidable. 
Prayer continued, is supplication. Prayer, or the desire 
of the heart after God, may be one act ; supplication is 
many. Prayer simply requests ; supplication begs, en- 
treats, pleads, and continues in all these, till the answer 
is given. 

Prayer and supplication should ever be accompanied 
with thanksgiving. Innumerable mercies have already 
been received : for these gratitude is reasonable ; and 
thanksgiving is the outward expression of gratitude. A 
man may expect to receive additional good from the 
hand of God, when he comes with a grateful heart for 
favours already bestowed. 

It is not likely that God will trust that man with more 
mercies, who is not thankful for those he has received. 
By gratitude, we in some sort return the divine favours 
back to their source. Those only who are faithful to re- 
store a loan, have reason to expect they will be again 

We are commanded to make our requests known to 
God : this argues no imperfection in the divine know- 
ledge. By making them known, we are to understand 
enumerating them, spreading them before him, not that 
He may see or know them, but that our eye may affect 
our heart. He who says, " As God knows all things, he 
knows my wants better than I can know them myself, 
and therefore I need not pray," only shows that he has 
no sense of his wants, and that on him divine benefits 
would be lost : for, not knowing the want of them, he 
could not know the worth of them ; therefore, that gra- 


titude which springs from a sense of obligation could 
never be felt by him ; and as obedience is the proper ex- 
pression of a sense of obligation, in the life of such a 
man it cannot be found. God, therefore, requires that 
in all things, with prayer and supplication, we make our 
requests known unto him. And when we know that his 
wisdom, power, and goodness are interested in our 
behalf, we shall be free from all anxious and corroding 

The necessary result of all this must be, that the peace 
of God shall keep the heart. As these directions are given 
to the church of God at Philippi, we may suppose that 
the members of it were made partakers of that peace 
which flows from a sense of justification or pardon, Rom. 
v. 1 ; but this peace will have many interruptions, if it 
should not be wholly destroyed, where moderation is 
wanting, and where anxious carking cares are indulged. 
Where moderation in all things, with proper dependance 
on the providence, and faith in the mercy and goodness 
of God, prevail ; there, peace rules, and keeps the heart 
as in a garrison or fortified place, for so much the term 
<j>povpt)au implies : the heart — the whole system of affec- 
tions and passions which relate to man and his animal 
nature, in reference to this world; for he that thus 
makes his requests known unto God, has a firm depend- 
ance on God's providence for supplies and support. 

And this same peace will keep the mind, vori/ia — the 
understanding, judgment, will, and reason ; all the higher 
faculties of the soul which relate to man in his reference 
to God, and the eternal world ; and this peace will keep 
the heart and mind from all extravagance — from all hurt- 
ful imaginations — from all foolish, precarious, and uncer- 
tain fancies, in a continual humble dependance on the 
mercy of God, through Christ Jesus, from the full con- 
viction that he who has done all things well, will con- 



tinue to send forth his mercy and his truth, and save to 
the uttermost all who thus trust in him. 

The peace which God hath promised passeth all under- 
standing — it is indescribably great, excellent, and neces- 
sary ; beyond all price and all comprehension ; and 
consequently," beyond all my powers of description. It 
is known best by its existence and government in the 
soul. It is better felt than expressed ; and it is God 
alone' that can make it known to the hearts of my 

In a very few lines, the late Dr. Byrom, of Manches- 
ter, has given a mass of excellent advice on the subject 
of this discourse ; and with them I shall close it. 

With patient mind, thy course of duty run ; 
God nothing does, nor suffers to be done, 
But thou wouldst do thyself, couldst thou but see 
The end of all events, as well as He. 

Now, to Him who is able to keep you from falling, 
and to present you faultless before the presence of his 
glory with exceeding joy ; to the only wise God, our Sa- 
viour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both 
now and ever. Amen. 



Exodus xx. 1 — 17. 

1. "And God spate, all these words, saying, 

2. "I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of 
the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 

3. " Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 

4. " Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any 
likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth 
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth : 

5. " Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them ; 
for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of 
the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation 
of them that hate me ; 

6. " And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, 
and keep my commandments. 

7. " Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ; 
for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in 

8. " Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. 

9. " Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work : 

10. But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God ; in 
it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, 
thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy 
stranger that is within thy gates : 

11. " For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, 
and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day ; wherefore the 
Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 


12. " Honour thy father and thy mother ; that thy days may be 
long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. 

13. "Thou shalt not kill. 

14. " Thou shalt not commit adultery. 

15. " Thou shalt not steal. 

16. " Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. 

17. " Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not 
covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid- 
servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neigh- 

The two first verses of this chapter contain the pre- 
face, which shows the authority by which these com- 
mandments are given, and the obligation of the people 
to obey : — 

And God spake all these words, ver. 1. 

It has been conjectured, and not without great plausi- 
bility, that the clause nbxn a-imn ba rw eth col hadebarim 
haelleh, " All these words," belongs to the latter part of 
the concluding verse of the preceding chapter, and 
should be read thus : " So Moses went down unto the 
people, and spake unto them all these words ; that 
is, he delivered to them that solemn charge, not to 
attempt to come up to that part of the mountain on 
which God manifested himself, in his glorious majesty, 
lest he should break through upon and consume them. 
When Moses, therefore, had gone down, and spoken all 
these nords, and he and Aaron had reascended the moun- 
tain, then the Divine Being, as supreme Legislator, is 
majestically introduced thus : And God spake, saying. 
This gives a dignity to the commencement of this chap- 
ter, of which the above clause, if not referred to the 
speech of Moses to the people, deprives it. Our most 
ancient Version, the Anglo-Saxon, reads in the same 
way, Do 1 * f pjioec Jmr-, God spake thus; which is the whole 
of the verse in this Version (without the and), which 


makes the whole of this introduction more peremptory 
and authoritative. 

The giving of the law on Mount Sinai was the most 
solemn transaction which ever took place between God 
and man; and therefore it is introduced in the most 
solemn manner. In the morning of that day in which 
this law was given (which many learned chronologists 
suppose to have been May 30, in the year of the world 
2513, before the Incarnation 1491, that day being the 
Pentecost), the presence of Jehovah became manifest 
by thunders and lightnings, a dense cloud on the moun- 
tain, and a terrific blast of a trumpet ; so that the whole 
assembly was struck with terror and dismay. Shortly 
after, the whole mount appeared on fire ; columns of 
smoke arose from it, as the smoke of a furnace ; and 
an earthquake shook it from top to base ; the trumpet 
continued to sound, and the blasts grew longer, and 
louder and louder. Then Jehovah, the sovereign Law- 
giver, came down upon the mount, and called Moses to 
ascend to the top, where, previously to his delivering 
this law, he gave him directions concerning the sanctifi- 
cation of the people. See Exod. xix. 16, &c. From 
the awful manner in which the law was introduced, it 
is no wonder that, at first view, it was deemed the minis- 
tration of terror and death, 2 Cor. iii. 7; appearing 
rather to drive men from God, than to bring them nigh 
to him. And indeed from this solemn fact we may 
learn, that an approach to God would have been for ever 
impracticable, had not infinite mercy found out the gos- 
pel scheme of salvation. By this, and this alone, we 
draw nigh to God ; " for we have an entrance unto the 
holiest by the blood of Jesus," Heb. x. 19. Even the 
apostle of the Gentiles was deeply struck with this ter- 
rific display of God's majesty, though contemplating it 

386 THE ten commandments; 

in the mild light of the glorious gospel. " For," says 
he, " ye are not come unto the mount that might be 
touched, and that burned with fire ; nor unto blackness, 
and darkness, and tempest ; and the sound of a trum- 
pet, and the voice of words ; which voice, they that 
heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to 
them any more ; for so terrible was the sight that Moses 
said, I exceedingly fear and quake : but ye are come 
unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, 
the heavenly Jerusalem ; and to an innumerable com- 
pany of angels ; to the general assembly and church of 
the first-born, which are written in heaven ; and to God 
the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made 
perfect ; and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, 
and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better 
things than that of Abel," Heb. xii. 18 — 24. 

The obligation of the people to hear and to obey, is 
founded on ver. 2 : " I am Jehovah thy God, which have 
brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house 
of bondage." As run- Jehovah, he is the fountain and 
cause of all being : there was nothing before him, for he 
had no beginning ; there can be nothing after him, for 
he is eternal, and can have no end. And as he is the 
cause of all being, the Creator of heaven and earth, as 
he had already manifested himself to this people, so he 
is the preserver of all that he has made. Of all that is 
good and excellent, he is the cause; without him no- 
thing is good, nothing holy, nothing strong. He has, 
from his nature and being, absolute right over all that 
he has made ; and is, necessarily, the Lord and Governor 
of all things, animate and inanimate, spiritual and ma- 
terial. He alone has authority and power to save and 
to destroy ; to bring into being, or annihilate that which 
he has already created. He is the First, and he is the 


Last ; he is the Beginning and the End ; the Uncreated, 
Self-sufficient, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent 
Creator of all things, and Father of the spirits of all 
flesh. For his pleasure tJiey are and were created. As 
they were brought into being by his omnipotent will, so 
they continue to exist during his pleasure. Under such 
a Sovereign, man is not left to a state of indifference, 
whether he will obey or disobey, as if these were indif- 
ferent things. He must obey, and show his allegiance, 
if he regard his own welfare ; he may disobey, and 
show thereby his spirit of rebellion : and thus the pot- 
sherd of the earth enters the lists with the Almighty. 
In subjection and obedience all good is secured ; in dis- 
affection and rebellion, all good is forfeited. Man may 
choose life or death, a blessing or a curse ; and according 
to his choice (for God compels nothing on this head) will 
be his state in time and eternity ; a state of misery or a 
state of happiness — and both ineffable. A just considera- 
tion of this subject is imperious on man ; and why ? — 
God made him. He is Jehovah, and governs all things ; 
and obedience to his will is the highest interest of man. 

But in addition to his right over them as Creator and 
Sovereign, he says, / am thy God; yrhn Eloheyca. 
There is something in the term D s nb« Elohim that is 
peculiarly interesting to man. It is allowed, by wise and 
learned men, to signify God in covenant with man : God 
having undertaken to raise man from his fall, and restore 
hirn from sin, degradation, and misery, to that state of 
glory, holiness, and excellence from which he had fallen. 
And, indeed, all this is implied in the bare idea of God ; 
the Good One ; the best of Beings ; He who is as bene- 
volent as he is just — as beneficent as he is powerful. He 
who is the supreme and satisfying Good of all intelli- 
gent beings. Who, though he be infinitely just, delighteth 


not in the death of a sinner ; and who, though infi- 
nitely perfect and happy, and therefore needing nothing 
that he hath made, delighteth in the salvation of man. 

He to whom God says, / am thy God, in this peculiar 
sense, has reason for eternal exultation. And that he 
had shown himself to be God, the good Being, to Israel, 
he adds : " Which have brought thee out of the land of 
Egypt, out of the house of bondage." I need not here 
enter into the ancient history of the Israelites, and of 
their 430 years' servitude in Egypt, where they were at 
all times ill used, and, towards the latter part of their 
sojourning there, most cruelly oppressed ; these things 
are well known. From that land, in which the true 
God was not acknowledged, where they had no means of 
grace, and no spiritual or intellectual advantage of any 
kind — out of this place of slavery, this house of bond- 
men, God, by a strong and mighty arm, redeemed them, 
and was now actually guiding them to a land where they 
were to eat bread without scarceness ; where God alone 
should be their king ; where they were to have the 
essence of civil liberty ; and, with all other good things, 
the means of grace, and the hope of glory. All these 
were obligations of the highest kind, and reasons why 
they should receive his laws immediately from himself, 
and take them for the regulators of their heart, and the 
rule of their conduct. 

There are two points of view under which this law of 
God appears both singular and important. 

1. It is the most ancient code or system of law ever 
given to man. 

2. It was written in alphabetical characters, invented 
by God himself; as it is most probable that, previously 
to this, no such characters had been known in the 

1. It is the most ancient code or system of law ever 


given to man. All the nations of the earth have been 
unanimous in the opinion that the first code of law must 
have come from heaven : and so necessary was a divine 
origin for those laws, to which all were to render obe- 
dience, that the great legislators of antiquity were obliged 
to pretend that from some god or goddess they received, 
by inspiration, the laws they proposed to the people, to 
whatever form of government they chose to apply them. 
The intercourse which Moses had with Jehovah, was 
soon known among all the nations of the East ; and from 
them the Greeks and Romans received the information. 
Hence the pretensions of Numitor among the ancient 
Romans ; Lycurgus and Solon among the Greeks ; Zera- 
tusht or Zoroaster, and Menu, among the Persians ; and 
Mohammed among the Arabians. But no laws have 
been proved to be divine, and rightly attributed to God, 
but those given by Moses to the Jews ; and by Jesus to 
the Gentiles. The oldest record in the world is the Pen- 
tateuch. It is the simplest, the purest, and the most 
comprehensive of all that has ever been delivered to 
men. Christ's sermon on the mount is the comment on 
the Mosaic code. 

2. These laws were written in alphabetical characters, 
invented by God himself; as it is most probable that, 
before the giving of the two tables of stone written by 
the finger of Jehovah, there were no alphabetical charac- 
ters of any kind known to man. 

In the early ages of the world, letters would have 
been of little use. Men, living then to a great age, and 
nigh to each other, transmitted instructions down to pos- 
terity by word of mouth. This is what is called tradi- 
tion ; i. e., transmitting from hand to hand the facts 
necessary to be remembered : but when the age of man 
became shortened ; when kingdoms and commerce were 
established, and the inhabitants of the earth were greatly 

390 THE ten commandments; 

multiplied, and, consequently, scattered over the face of 
the earth, then the use of alphabetical writing became 
necessary. And seasonably, as Dr. A. Bayley observes, 
in supply of this want, we are told that God, at Mount 
Sinai, gave unto a chosen people, laws inscribed with 
his own hand. " No time seems so proper, from which 
to date the introduction of letters among the Hebrews, as 
this ; for after this period, we find continual mention of 
letters, reading, and writing, in the now proper sense of 
these words : " And it shall be, when he (the king) sitteth 
upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write 
him a copy of this law, in a book ; and it shall be with 
him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life," 
Deut. xvii. 18, 19. "And Moses wrote this law, and 
delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi," Deut. xxxi, 9. 
The first time we meet with any mention of writing, is 
in Exod. xvii. 14, " And the Lord said to Moses, "Write 
this for a memorial in a book." But it is evident, that 
either this passage is introduced here, instead of Deut. 
xxv. 17, by way of anticipation; or that by the words 
13D3 rnai row ana kethob zoth zikkaron ba-sephar, "Write 
this for a memorial in a book," was intended only a 
monumental declaration of the defeat of Amalek by 
Joshua, by some action or symbolical representation: 
for it is immediately subjoined, " And Moses built an 
altar, and called the name of it *D3 mrt* Yehovah nissi, 
" the Lord is my banner." Moses, it is said, nraiSivQr), 
was educated, in all the wisdom of the Egyptians — in all 
the learning of which they were possessed; but it is 
manifest be had not learned of them any method of al- 
phabetical writing, otherwise there had been no occasion 
for God's act and assistance, in writing the two tables of 
the law ; no need of a miraculous writing : had Moses 
known this art, the Lord might have said to him, as he 
often does afterwards, "Write thou these words," Exod. 


xxxiv. 27. " Write on the stones the words of this 
law, Deut. xxvii. 3. — " Write ye this song for you," Deut. 
xxxi. 19. Possibly it might not be going too far to say 
that neither letters nor language were a natural disco- 
very ; and that it was impossible for man to have invented 
either : for, 1. Reason may show us how near to an im- 
possibility it was that a just and proper number of con- 
venient characters for the sounds in language should be 
naturally hit on by any man ; for whom it was easy to 
imitate and improve, but not to invent. 2. From the 
evidence of the Mosaic history, it appears that the intro- 
duction of writing among the Hebrews was not from 
man, but God. 3. There are no vestiges of letters sub- 
sisting in other nations, before the delivery of the , 
law on Mount Sinai ; nor then among them till long 
after." See Dr. A. Bayley's Four Dissertations ; Diss. I. 
p. 33. 

That God actually wrote the ten Commandments on 
the two tables of stone, seems evident, beyond doubt, 
from the following texts : 

" And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into 
the mountain, and be thou there ; and I will give thee 
tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I 
have written, that thou mayest teach them ;" Exod. 
xxiv. 12. 

"And he gave unto Moses upon Mount Sinai, two 
tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the 
finger op God ;" Exod. xxxi. 18. 

And Moses went down from the mount, and the 
two tables of testimony were in his hand; the tables 
were written on both their sides. And the tables were 
the work of god; and the writing was the writ- 
ing of God, graven upon the tables;" Exod. xxxii. 
15, 16. 

"These words (the ten Commandments) the Lord 

VOL. I. S 


spake in the mount, out of the midst of the fire, of the 
cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice; 
and he added no more ; and he wrote them upon two 
tabies of stone;" Deut. v. 22. 

Nothing can be clearer than these texts ; and it 
seems quite impossible to give them any other meaning 
than that to which they are applied in the preceding 
observations ; and from them we learn that alphabetical 
characters were the invention of God ; and that the first 
piece of alphabetical writing was that of the ten Com- 
mandments, written by the finger of God on Mount 
Sinai, upon two tables of stone. 

The laws delivered on Mount Sinai have been variously 
named : in Deut. iv. 13, they are called nain mtw 
esereth hadebarim — the ten words. 

In the preceding chapter, ver. 5, God calls them >mn nx 
eth beriti, " my covenant/' i. e., the agreement he entered 
into with the people of Israel, to take them for his peculiar 
people, if they took him for their God and portion. " If 
ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, 
then shall ye be a peculiar treasure unto me." And the 
word covenant here evidently refers to the laws given in 
this chapter, as is manifest from Deut. iv. 13 : " And he 
declared unto you his covenant which he commanded 
you to perform, even ten commandments." 

These commandments have also been called the moral 
law, because they contain and lay down rules for the 
regulation of the manners and conduct of men. 

Sometimes they have been termed rmnn hatorak, the 
law, by way of eminence, as containing the grand 
system of spiritual instruction, direction, guidance, &c, 
as the radical meaning of torah signifies. 

Often it is called the Decalogue, AeKaXoyog, which is 
a literal translation into Greek of the D'-mn n-wy esereth 
hadebarim, or ten words of Moses. 


Among divines these commandments are generally 
divided into what they term the first and second table. 

The first table containing the first, second, third, and 
fourth commandments, and comprehending the whole 
system of theology — the true notions we should form of 
the Supreme Being, the reverence we owe, and the re- 
ligious service we should render, to him. 

The second table, containing the remaining six com- 
mandments, and comprehending a complete system of 
ethics, or moral duties, which man owes to his fellows ; 
and on the due performance of which the order, peace, 
and happiness of society depend. By this division, the 
first table contains our duty to God ; the second, out 
duty to our Neighbour. 

This division, which is natural enough, refers us to the 
grand principle — love to God and love to man ; through 
which both tables are observed. 1. " Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and 
strength." 2. " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thy- 
self." " On these two hang all the Law and the Pro- 
phets ;" Matt. xxii. 27—40. 


Against Mental and Theoretic Idolatry. 

" Thou shalt have no other gods before me," ver. 3. 

-32 by onnx anbtt 7b n-n- xb lo yehiyeh leca elohim acharim 
al panai, — "There shall not be to thee strange gods 
before, or in the place of me." It is worthy of notice, 
that each individual is addressed here, and not the people 
collectively — though they are all necessarily included, that 
each might feel that he was bound for himself to hear 
and do all the words. Moses laboured to impress this 
personal interest on the people's minds when he said, 
Deut. v. 3, " The Lord made this covenant with us, 
even us, who are all of us here alive this day." To us, 

s 2 


called Christians, to every one of us, are these words 
directed also, and to our children and children's children. 
All are concerned here ; the supreme Lawgiver utters his 
commands, not relative to religious rites and ceremonies, 
but to spiritual and moral duties, — duties which we 
must fulfil both to God and man, if we wish to be happy 
in this world, and in the world to come. "We must, 
therefore, lose sight of the Ritual Law of Moses ; in this 
we are not concerned; we have to do with that un- 
changeable moral law which belongs to all mankind, in 
all countries, in all states and conditions of life, in all 
the ages of the world ; given by the Sovereign of heaven 
and earth to all the human beings that constitute bis 
subjects and family on the habitable globe. 

After having recalled to their remembrance his mercy 
in visiting them in Egypt, and his power manifested in 
bringing them out of a state of servitude as degrading as 
it was oppressive ; and this, by a series of acts plainly 
descriptive of his eternal power and godhead ; be now 
commands them to acknowledge no other being as God 
but himself. As the word cii-ik acharim means strange 
or strangers, we may consider it here as implying, Thou 
shalt not acknowledge not only the strange gods of a 
strange people, but also any god or pretended power with 
which thou art unacquainted; no one who has not given 
thee such proofs of his being, power, and goodness, as I 
have done, in delivering thee from the Egyptians ; di- 
viding the Red Sea ; bringing water out of the rock ; 
bringing quails into the desert ; sending manna from 
heaven to feed thee ; giving the pillar of cloud and of 
fire to direct thee in the wilderness ; to be a light to 
thee by night, and to cover thee from the ardours of 
the sun when shining in the might of his strength. By 
these miracles God had rendered himself familiar to 
them ; they were intimately acquainted with him, and 


the operation of his hands ; and therefore, with propriety, 
he says, "Thou shalt have no strange gods before 
me ;" >33 by al panai, or peney, in my presence, or in 
the place of those manifestations which I have made of 

This commandment prohibits every species of mental 
idolatry. We must not attempt to form conceptions of 
the Supreme Being as if confined to form, to any kind 
of limits, to any particular space or place ; as Jehovah, 
he is in every respect inconceivable ; no mind can grasp 
him ; he is an Infinite Spirit ; equally in every place, 
and in all points of duration ; he cannot be more present 
in one place than another, because he fills the heavens 
and the earth, though the manifestations of his presence 
may be more in particular places and especial times. 
His working shows that he is here and present ; though 
he would be no less present were there no apparent 
working. He is not like man, though, in condescension 
to our weakness, he represents himself often as possess- 
ing human members and human affections. When a 
thing is said to be done by the finger, the hand, or the arm 
of God, — this only points out degrees of power manifested 
in performing certain works of mercy, providence, de- 
liverance, &c. And these degrees of power are always 
in proportion to the work that is to be effected. The 
finger may indicate a comparatively slight interference, 
where a miracle is wrought; but not one that is stu- 
pendous. The hand, one where great power is necessary, 
accompanied by evident skill and design. And the arm, 
one in which the mighty power of God comes forward 
with sovereign, overwhelming, irresistible effect. When 
the shoulder is attributed to him, it points out his al- 
mighty sustaining power, — maintaining his government 
of the world, and of his church ; supporting whatever 
he has made ; so his heart represents his concern for his 

396 THE ten commandments; 

own honour, for the welfare of his followers, and for the 
afflicted and distressed. 

This divine Being we must sanctify in our hearts ; that 
is, we must separate all transitory, material, and par- 
ticularly earthly things from the notion we form of him. 
We cannot conceive what he is, and how he is. It is 
enough for all the purposes of devotion and faith that 
we can acknowledge him as the Cause of all heing ; 
infinitely perfect in himself; needing nothing that he 
has made ; supporting all his creatures ; willing the per- 
fection and happiness of all his intelligent offspring, for 
whom he is especially concerned ; for he made man in 
his own image, and in his own likeness. 

But as this God is inconceivably great, holy, just, 
good, and merciful, how shall we come into the presence 
of his holiness and justice, seeing we have sinned and 
have rebelled against him ? It is true, the consideration 
of his goodness and mercy may encourage us ; but still 
what right have we to expect that he will give the pre- 
ference to the claims of his goodness and mercy, rather 
than to those of his holiness and justice ? Here the 
doctrine of a Mediator must come in. Sacrifice was ap- 
pointed to the Israelites as the medium of approach to 
this most awful and glorious Being. That sacrificial 
system was a type of the Incarnation, Passion, Death, 
and Atonement of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
And as to us there is only one God, so there is only one 
Mediator between God and man ; we approach, there- 
fore, this Infinite Spirit, through him who hath lain in 
his bosom, and hath declared him, and made him known 
to mankind. 

This commandment also forbids all inordinate attach- 
ment to earthly and sensible things : i. e., things that 
are the objects of our senses, and for the possession of 
which our appetites and affections are intensely occupied. 

A DISCOURSE ON EXOD. XX. 1— 17- 397 

As God is the Fountain of happiness, and no intelli- 
gent creature can be happy hut through him ; whoever 
seeks happiness in the creature is necessarily an idolater ; 
as he puts the creature m the place of the Creator ; ex- 
pecting that from the gratification of his passions in the 
use or abuse of earthly things, which is to be found in 
God alone. 

Thus we find that the first commandment in the De- 
calogue is divinely calculated to prevent the misery of 
man, and to promote his happiness by taking him off 
from all false dependance ; and leading him to God 
himself, the Fountain of all good. 


Against Making and Worshipping Images. 

" Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image ;" 
ver. 4. 

As the word ^ds pesel, which we translate graven 
image, signifies in its root, to hew, carve, engrave, &c, it 
may here signify any kind of image either of wood, 
stone, or metal, on which the axe, the chisel, or the 
graving tool, has been employed. This commandment 
includes, in its prohibitions, every species of idolatry 
practised in Egypt. For a particular description of the 
different objects of religious worship among the Egyp- 
tians, I must beg the reader to refer to my comment on 
the ten plagues of Egypt, and particularly to the con- 
cluding observations at the end of Exod. xii. Image- 
worship is a positive breach of the first command. It 
attempts to humanize God, and fills the miserable idol- 
ater with the opinion that God is like to himself, if not 
altogether so ; and image worshippers in general have no 
other idea of God than that of a gigantic man, of 
amazing dimensions, of vast strength, wisdom, and skill ; 
no other kind of being having any such strength or 


wisdom. Hence, among the Roman Catholics, God is 
represented as a very grave, venerable old man, with a 
triple crown (which however their popes borrow), to sig- 
nify his sovereignty over heaven, earth, and hell ; angels, 
men, and devils being subject to him. All these, as 
well as the triple crown, their symbol, have the popes of 
Rome, by their doctrines, traditions, and pretensions, 
arrogated to themselves. They have the keys of both 
worlds ; they open, and no man shutteth ; they shut, and 
ho man openeth ! It is a matter of the highest aston- 
ishment that the blasphemous pretensions of these in- 
dividuals should have been acknowledged and conceded 
to them for so long a time, by all the powers of Europe ! 
They have raised up and put down emperors and kings 
at pleasure. Have absolved, as in a moment, all their 
officers and subjects from the most solemn oaths of alle- 
giance, and their obligations of obedience ; and for all this 
they have given them indulgences, purgatory, transub- 
stantiation, image-worship, worship of the Virgin Mary 
as queen of heaven ; saints and angels as mediators and 
intercessors; prayers for the dead; and uncertain and 
contradictory traditions in place of the Bible ! All 
these must be received on their authority ; and he who 
disputes their authenticity is a heretic, i. e., one that the 
Church of Rome orders to, be burnt alive ; and those who 
reject their authority incur the divine displeasure, and 
if not reconciled to them and their church, shall be ban- 
ished from the presence of God, and the glory of his 
power, to all eternity ! What blasphemous pretensions ! 
"What gross idolatry ! 

" Or any likeness that is in heaven above, or that is 
in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the 
earth," ib. 

To have the full spirit and extent of this command- 
ment, we must collate this place with Deut. iv. 15 — 19: 


" Take ye, therefore, good heed to yourselves ; (for ye 
saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord 
spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire ;) 
lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, 
the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or 
female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, 
the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, 
the likeness of anything that creepeth upon the ground, 
the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath 
the earth ; and lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven ; 
and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the 
stars, even all the host of heaven, and shouldest be 
driven to worship them and serve them." This is, in 
the first place, directed against the idolatry of Egypt. 
All who have even a slight acquaintance with the ancient 
history of Egypt, know that Osiris, and his wife Isis, 
were supreme divinities among that people. Their 
images were objects of adoration, and were multiplied 
throughout the land. Several of those images, of a very 
high and remote antiquity, with various mythological 
emblems, now lie before me, and which had been doubt- 
less objects of adoration: some of them are thickly 
covered over with hieroglyphics; and could they be 
deciphered, would no doubt cast much light on the 
history of those persons, their deification, and the wor- 
ship paid to them. Some of these images are cut out 
of marble, others out of sand-stone, and others out of 
schist. Among these, also, are the Anubis, or barking- 
dog; the Cercopithecus, or monkey; and the Ibis, or 
stork. Some of these are modelled of clay, and baked 
in the fire ; others carved out of cedar, lately brought 
from the tombs of the kings in Upper Egypt ; and others 
formed from brass. Not only the dog and the monkey 
were adored, but also the ox and the cow. The ox was 
sacred, because they suppposed that Osiris took up his 

s 3 

400 THE ten commandments; 

residence in one of these animals. Hence they always 
had a living ox, which they supposed to be the habi- 
tation of the deity ; and they imagined that on the death 
of one he entered into the body of another, and so on 
successively. This famous ox-god they called Apis and 
Mnevis. Here every species of idolatry is forbidden. 
By the male and female, Osiris and Isis may be intended ; 
for to these they paid divine honours. By any beast, 
the dog, the monkey, the cat, and the ox are intended. 
By the fowl that Jlieth in the air, the ibis, or stork, the 
crane, and the hawk; for these were all objects of 
Egyptian idolatry. By that which creepeth on the ground, 
the crocodile, serpents in general, and the scarabeus or 
beetle, may be intended, for all these were objects of 
Egyptian adoration. The likeness of any fish — all fish 
were sacred animals in Egypt. One called oxurunchus 
had a temple, and had divine honours paid to it. See 
Strabo, lib. xvii. 

Another fish, called phagrus, was worshipped at Syene, 
according to Clemens Alexandrinus, in his Cohortatio ; 
and the lepidotus and eel were objects of their adoration, 
as we learn from Herodotus, lib. ii., cap. 72. 

In short, oxen, cows, sheep, goats, lions, dogs, 
monkeys, and cats; the Ibis, the crane, and the hawk 
the crocodile, serpents, flies, and the scarabeus or beetle 
the Nile and its fish ; the sun, moon, planets, and stars 
fire, air, light, darkness, and night; onions, leeks, and 
other horticultural productions, were all objects of Egyp- 
tian idolatry, and all included in this very circumstantial 
prohibition, as it stands in Deuteronomy ; and very 
forcibly in the general terms of the text : " Thou shalt 
not make unto thee any graven image ; or any likeness 
of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in 
the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the 
earth." And the reason of this is very evident, when 


the various objects of Egyptian idolatry are considered. 
But it is not directed solely against Egyptian idolatry, 
but against all idolatry, whether found among the savage 
tribes in North America — the worshippers of the visible 
heavens in China — the devotees of Brahma, Siva, and 
Mahadeo in Hindostan — the followers of Budhoo in 
Ceylon, and Java, and Ava — or the corrupt Chris- 
tians in the Church of Rome : — against all these, and 
all like them, has God sent forth the Second Command- 

There is something remarkable in the 23rd verse of 
this chapter, that should be noticed here : " Ye shall 
not make with me gods of silver, neither shall ye make 
unto you gods of gold." In ver. 3 it is commanded, 
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me," *j3 bx al 
panai ; but here they are commanded, Ye shall not 
make with me gods of silver, or of gold, tin ithi, with 
me, as emblems or representatives of God ; in order, as 
might be pretended, to keep the displays of his magnifi- 
cence in memory. He would not even have a costly 
altar ; on the contrary, he ordered one of earth, or plain 
turf, to be erected, on which they should offer those 
sacrifices, by which they should commemorate their own 
guilt, and the necessity of an atonement, by which they 
might be reconciled to God. 

" Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve 
them," ver. 5. 

Two things, in addition to what is. mentioned above, 
should be noted here. 1. They shall offer no mental 
adoration to images. 2. They shall perform to them no 
religious service. 

I. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them; xb 
sr6 mnran lo tishtachaveh lahem — Thou shalt not pros- 
trate thyself to them in any act of adoration. Kneeling 
down, putting the head between the knees, and touching 

402 THE ten commandments; 

the earth with the forehead, was the common form of 
religious adoration. Ye shall conceive no idea of their 
capability to hear, help, or save you ; they are nothing 
but the block, stone, or metal which you see ; from them 
you never received help, and to them you are under no 

2. Thou shalt not serve them ; tmyn xbi velo taabdem 
— Thou shalt not honour them with any religious rite, 
such as sacrifice, offering, &c. ; for this is one of the 
acceptations of the verb -ay abad, and in Exod. xii. 25 
may dbodah signifies religious service, such as God re- 
quired of the people ; and in this sense it is often used. 
Hence we find that prostration, kneeling, prayers, mental 
adoration, offering candles, frankincense, &c, or per- 
forming pilgrimages to saints, angels, images, &c, is flat 
idolatry, and point blank against the letter and spirit of 
this commandment. 

To countenance its image worship, the Roman Catho- 
lic Church has, in some cases, left the whole of this 
second commandment out of the decalogue, and as a 
second command, she has omitted it in all her formula- 
ries, catechisms, missals, and church-books that I have 
seen ; and to keep up the number of the ten command- 
ments, she has divided the tenth into two, contrary to the 
whole spirit and sense of this law, that speaks only of 
the objects of covetousness. 

This omission and division is totally contrary to the 
faith of God's elect, and to the acknowledgment of the 
truth which is according to godliness. The verse con- 
taining this second command is found in every MS. of 
the Hebrew Pentateuch that has ever yet been disco- 
vered. There is not even one word of the whole verse 
wanting in any of the hundreds of MSS. collated by 
Kennicott and De Rossi ; nor in my own, five of which 
are among the oldest extant. It is in all the ancient 


Versions, Samaritan, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, Septuagint, 
Coptic, Vulgate, and also in the Persian. The Anglo- 
Saxon gives this command with its usual sententious 
brevity. Ne pipe Jm pe ajnapene Jjo&ar, Ne work thou 
the graven (or image) Gods. Do not make such : and 
why ? Because Ic eom Djiihren pin not>, I am the Lord 
thy God. 

And by all people and sects, with whom I have 
any acquaintance, the Roman Catholics excepted, it has 
ever been considered as the second commandment. 

" For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God," ib. 

There is scarcely a word of more ominous interpreta- 
tion than the word jealousy. It is a suspicion often 
generated from love, in weak minds, that it is not re- 
turned ; for love demands love, and nothing else can be 
its recompence. It is often ideal, being founded on 
appearances which, traced to their origin, are found to 
have no connexion with, nor bearing on, the subject of 
the suspicion. It is, however, in most cases, a real evil 
to that mind which is exercised with it. One of our 
poets has described it well : — 

It is the green-eyed monster that doth mock 

The meat it feeds on : 

But O, what cursed minutes tells he o'er 

Who doats, yet doubts ; suspects, yet strongly loves ! 

But it signifies, also, an anxious care to preserve a 
person or thing in a state of purity — to prevent defection 
in a person, whose heedless and incautious conduct 
might lead into transgression, though at first neither 
pre-meditated nor planned. This is what may be called 
a godly jealousy — anxious care to preserve its object from 
corruption and ruin. Thus Jehovah was jealous over 
the Israelites ; and St. Paul jealous over the church of 
God at Corinth, that he might present it as a chaste 
•virgin to Christ, 2 Cor. xi. 2., 

404 THE ten commandments; 

When the Lord says, "I am a jealous God," he shows 
in the most expressive manner his love to the people. 
He felt for them as the most affectionate hushand could 
feel for his spouse. The covenant between him and 
them was the strong bond which required their invari- 
able attachment to him, and bound him to afford them 
his continual protection and support. He saw, from the 
lightness and variableness of their conduct, that thev 
might be easily led astray into idolatry, which was the 
breach of that stronger than matrimonial bond by which 
he and they were bound to each other. He -was jealous 
for their fidelity, because he willed their invariable hap- 

On this gracious principle, he tells them that he visits 
the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third 
and fourth generation of them that hate him. This 
necessarily implies, if the children hate him, as their 
fathers did, and continue to offend divine justice, by 
walking in the same way. For no man can be con- 
demned by the justice of God for crimes of which he 
never was guilty. This point has been for ever settled 
by God, in his most solemn declarations by the prophet 
Ezekiel, chap, xviii. 

But as idolatry was the same in reference to the 
breach of the covenant between God and the people, as 
infidelity is in reference to the marriage contract between 
the husband and wife, idolatry may be principally in- 
tended here ; and therefore the visiting the sins of this 
kind may refer to national judgments. By the with- 
drawing the Divine protection, the idolatrous Israelites 
were delivered up into the hands of their enemies, from 
whom the gods in whom they had trusted could not 
deliver them. This God did to the third and fourth 
generation, i. e., successively, as may be seen in every 
part of the Jewish history, and particularly in the Book 


of Judges. Now God did this, not to punish to destruc- 
tion or extermination, but to be the instrument of their 
amendment. And this became the grand and only effi- 
cient means in his hand of their deliverance from idol- 
atry; for it is well known that, after the Babylonish 
captivity, the Israelites were so completely saved from 
idolatry, as never more to have disgraced themselves by 
it, as they had formerly done. These national judgments, 
thus continued from generation to generation, appear to 
be what is designed in the text, by " visiting the iniquity 
of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth 

Those, therefore, who tread under foot God's command- 
ments, shall be trodden under foot by God's judgments. 
But see what he says to them who love him and keep his 
commandments ; as they have love to him, which is the 
principle of all obedience, so they keep his command- 
ments ; they observe their nature, consider their autho- 
rity, see their great usefulness, and that it is their interest 
to obey them; and therefore get the Holy Spirit to 
write them in their hearts, that they may practise them 
in their lives. 

To these, it is said, he shows mercy. Let it be ob- 
served, that even they who love God and keep his com- 
mandments, merit nothing from him ; and therefore the 
salvation and blessedness which they enjoy come from 
the mere mercy of God. 

" Shewing mercy unto thousands of them," &c, ver. 6. 

What a disproportion between the works of justice 
and mercy ! Justice works to the third or fourth ; 
Mercy, to thousands of generations. 

Our blessed Lord might have had reference to this 
place, when he comprised the fulfilment of the whole 
law in love to God and man. For as we have already 
seen that love is the grand principle of obedience, and 

406 THE ten commandments; 

incentive to it, so there can be no obedience without it. 
It would be more easy, even in Egyptian bondage, to 
make brick without straw, than to do the will of God 
unless his love be shed abroad in the heart by the Holy 
Spirit. Love, says the apostle, is the fulfilling of i/ie law, 
Rom. xiii. 10. 

We see that this commandment prohibits every species 
of external idolatry, as the first does all idolatry that 
may be internal or mental. All false worship may be 
considered of this kind ; together with all image worship, 
as we have already seen; as well as all superstitious 
rites and ceremonies. I have no doubt that the gross 
perversion of the simplicity of Christian worship, by the 
introduction of various instruments of music into 
churches and chapels, if not a species of idolatry, will at 
least rank with will-worship, and superstitious rites and 
ceremonies. Where the Spirit and unction of God do 
not prevail in Christian assemblies, priests and people 
being destitute of both, their place, by general consent, 
is to be supplied by imposing ceremonies, noise, and 

the third commandment. 

Against False Swearing, Blasphemy, and Irreverent Use 
of the name of God. 

" Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God 
in vain," ver. 7- 

The strong reason for obedience to this commandment, 
is included in itself; The Lord thy God prescribes 
this. Oppose not his authority, for he is the Lord. 
Offend him not, for he is thy God. The first, second, 
third, fourth, and fifth commandmeiits are proposed in 
the same way. " The Lord thy God says, Thou shalt 
have no other gods before me." " Thou shalt not make 
to thyself any graven image, &c, for I, the Lord thy 

A DISCOURSE ON EXOD. XX. 1 — 17- 407 

God, am a jealous God." Thou shalt not take the name 
of the Lord thy God in vain." " Remember the Sab- 
bath day to keep it holy — for it is the Sabbath of the 
Lord thy God." None of the other commandments is 
introduced in the same way. The four first command- 
ments refer to God himself, and the fifth to our parents, 
who stand to us in the place of God, and next him should 
be held in the highest respect ; and therefore they have 
this peculiar sanction. Because he is the Lord our God, 
therefore we should keep these laws. And because our 
neighbours owe to us, and we to them, help, support, and 
kind offices, therefore we should keep the remaining five, 
by which the whole human family are bound to each 
other. All God's commands have a solid reason why 
they should be obeyed. All who read as they should, 
will see this. 

As the word nw shave, which we translate in vain, sig- 
nifies not only vanity, a vain thing, but also falsehood, 
and a lie ; the spirit of the commandment is, Do not in- 
voke God to witness an untruth. He is the God of truth 
— the devil is the father of lies and liars. Do not call 
on him to pledge his truth to support a falsehood ; nor 
shalt thou use the name of the Lord thy God in a false- 
hood or untruth. This would be the highest offence. 
And yet how often is it committed ? The word in vain 
signifies for no purpose, to no end — uselessly — trifiingly — 
lightly — without respect — irreverently. 

Now this precept not only forbids all false oaths, but 
all common swearing, where the name of God is used, 
or where he is appealed to as a witness of the truth. It 
also necessarily forbids all light and irreverent mention of 
God, or any of his attributes ; and we may safely add, 
that every prayer, ejaculation, and supplication, that is 
not accompanied with deep reverence, and the genuine 
spirit of piety, is here condemned also. So also is the 


wicked mode of turning the name of God — of the throne 
of his glory, into interjections, and words to express 
wonder, amazement, surprise, &c. ; as, God! OLord! 
/leavens ! Good God ! my God ! &c, &c. When it 
is evident, from the character of the persons, their habits, 
the nature of the circumstances in which they then were, 
that their souls were as truly without the fear of God, as 
their tongues were without respect to the company, or 
reverence to their Maker. 

But the command may be, and is, broken in thousands 
of instances, in the prayers, whether read or offered ex- 
tempore, of inconsiderate, bold, and presumptuous wor- 
shippers. To hear the most solemn prayers, expressing 
the sighing of a contrite heart, the desires of such as be 
sorrowful, the fervent breathings of the righteous after 
fuller communion with God, where the person considered 
not what he said, and had no feelings corresponding with 
the solemn words he uttered — is to witness an awful 
breach of the third commandment, which God will the 
more signally punish, because the excellent prayers came 
from feigned lips. And alas ! how few are there who do 
not break this command both in their public and private 
devotions. How low is piety in the church of God, 
when we are obliged to pray in order to escape damna- 
tion, "Lord cleanse us from our secret faults ! and pardon 
the sins of our holy things !" 

Even heathens thought that the names of their gods 
should be treated with reverence : Plato, De Legib., lib. 
ix., says, " It is most undoubtedly right not lightly to 
profane the names of the gods, using them as we do 
common names, but we should watch with purity and 
holiness all matters belonging to them." 

But let us hear the solemn penalty, " the Lord will not 
hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." What- 
ever the person himself may think or hope, however he 

A DISCOURSE ON EXOD. I. 1 17- 409 

may plead in his own behalf, and say, "he intends no 
evil, hopes he is sincere, and thinks it his duty to say 
the good words which pious and learned men have put 
in the mouths of those who cannot make prayers for 
themselves, &c. ; yet if any man, in the above ways, or 
in any other way, take the name of the Lord his God in 
vain, God will not hold him guiltless ; he will account 
him guilty, and punish him for it. All common swearers, 
blasphemers, and those who in their prayers, or conver- 
sation, take the name of the Lord in vain, I would address 
in the nervous words of Mr. Herbert : — 

Take not his name who made thy mouth, in vain; 
It gets thee nothing, and hath no excuse : 
Pride and lust plead pleasure, avarice, gain, 
But the cheap swearer through his open sluice 
Lets his soul run for nought, and nothing fearing. 
Were I an infidel, I would hate swearing. 


Against Profanation of the Sabbath, and Idleness on the 
other Dags of the Week. 

" Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy," ver. 8. 

As this was the most ancient institution, God calls 
upon them to remember it. As if he had said, Do not 
forget that when I had finished the creation of the heavens 
and the earth, and all that is in them, I instituted the 
sabbath ; and remember why I did so, and. for what pur- 

The word raw shabath signifies he rested, and hence, 
shabath, or sabbath, the seventh day, or the day of rest, 
or rest simply. In six days God created the heavens and 
the earth, and rested, that is, ceased to create on the 
seventh day, and has consecrated it as a day of rest for 
man. Rest to the body from labour and toil, and rest to 
the soul from all worldly cares and anxieties. He who 



labours with his mind on the sabbath-day, is as culpable 
as he who labours with his hands in his ordinary calling. 
It is by the authority of God, that the sabbath is set apart 
for rest and religious purposes, as the six days of the week 
are appointed for labour. How wise is this provision ! 
How gracious this command ! It is essentially necessary 
not only to the body of man, but to all the animals em- 
ployed in his service ; take this away, and the labour is 
too great; both man and beast would fail under it. 
Without this consecrated day, religion itself would fail, 
and the human mind become sensualized, would soon 
forget its origin and end. 

Even as a political regulation, it is one of the wisest 
and most beneficent in its effects of any ever instituted. 
Those who habitually disregard its moral obligation, are 
to a man not only good for nothing, but are wretched in 
themselves, a curse to society, and often end their lives 
miserably. The idler is next to the sabbath-breaker. As 
God has formed both the body and mind of man on prin- 
ciples of activity, so he designed him for proper employ- 
ment ; and it is his decree, that the mind shall improve 
by exercise, and the body find increase of vigour and 
health in honest labour. He who idles away his time on 
the six days, is equally culpable, in the sight of God, as 
he who works on the seventh. The idle person is ordi- 
narily clothed in rags ; and it has ever been remarked in 
all Christian countries, that sabbath-breakers generally 
come to an ignominious death. 

The appointment of the sabbath is the first command 
ever given to man ; and that the sanctification of it was 
of great consequence in the sight of God, we may learn 
from the various repetitions of this law ; and we may 
observe that it has still for its object not only the benefit 
of the soul, but the health and comfort of the body 


Because this commandment has not been particularly 
mentioned in the New Testament, as a moral precept 
binding on all ; therefore some have presumptuously in- 
ferred, that there is no sabbath under the Christian dis- 
pensation. "Were there none, Christianity itself would 
soon become extinct, and religion would soon have an 
end. But why is not the moral obligation of it insisted 
on by our Lord and the apostles ? They have sufficiently 
insisted on it, they all kept it sacred, and so invariably 
did all the primitive Christians ; though some observed 
the last day of the week, the Jewish sabbath, instead of 
the first day, in commemoration not only of God's 
resting from his work of creation, but also of the resur- 
rection of Christ from the dead. But to insist on the 
necessity of observing it, was not requisite, because none 
doubted of its moral obligation ; the question itself had 
never been disturbed : not so with circumcision and other 
Mosaic rites. The truth is, it is considered as a type. 
All types are of full force, till the thing signified by them 
take place; but the thing signified by the sabbath is 
that rest in glory, which remains for the people of God ; 
and in this light it evidently appears to have been consi- 
dered by the apostle, Heb. iv. As, therefore, the antitype 
remains, the moral obligation of the sabbath must con- 
tinue, till time be swallowed up in eternity. The world 
was never without a sabbath, and never will be. And 
there is scarcely a people on the face of the earth, 
whether civilized or uncivilized, that has not agreed in the 
propriety of having a sabbath, or something analogous to it. 
But it has been objected that the sabbath could be only 
of partial obligation, and affect those only whose day and 
night were divisible into twenty-four hours ; and would 
never be intended to apply to the inhabitants of either of 
the polar regions, where their days and nights alternately 
consisted of several months each. This objection is very 

412 THE TEN commandments; 

slight. The object of the Divine Being is evidently to 
cause men to apply the seventh part of time to rest ; and 
this may be as easily done at Spitzbergen as at any place 
under the equator. Nor is it of particular consequence 
where a nation or people may begin their sabbath ob- 
servances, whether it fall in with our, or the Jewish, or 
even the*Mohammedan sabbath, provided they continue 
regular in the observance, and hallow to religious uses 
this seventh part of time. 

In his mercy, the Divine Being has limited our labour 
to sice days out of seven. In order to destroy the in- 
stitution of God, the French National Assembly divided 
time into decads, and ordered every tenth day to be kept 
as a day of relaxation, dissipation, and merriment. The 
offended God wrought no miracle to bring back his in- 
stitution ; but in the course of his providence, he anni- 
hilated them and their devices, and restored the sabbath, 
in spite of legislative enactments to the contrary ; and 
the people, bad as they were, rejoiced to be put in 
possession of the sabbath which God had consecrated 
to rest and religious uses, from the foundation of the 

But let us remember, as before noted, that while we 
rest on the sabbath, we do not idle away the other six 
days. The Lord commands, " Six days shalt thou labour, 
and do all thy work," ver. 9. Therefore it has been justly 
observed, that he who idles away time on the six days, is 
equally guilty before God, as he who does his ordinary 
work upon the sabbath. 

No work should be done on the sabbath that can be 
done on the preceding day, or can be deferred to the 
ensuing week. Works of absolute necessity and mercy 
are alone excepted. He who works by his servants or 
cattle, is equally guilty as if he worked himself; for God 
has commanded that both the cattle, and the male and 


female servants, shall rest also. Yea, the slave himself is 
included, for so the original word -ay abed often signifies. 
But in what a state of moral depravity must those slave- 
holders be, who reduce their slaves to such a state of 
wretchedness, that they allow them only the sabbath- 
day to cultivate those grounds from which they are to 
derive their subsistence ; having no food allowed them 
but what they are able to bring out of the earth on that 
day in which the Supreme Lord has commanded their 
masters to give them rest, and to require no manner of 
labour from them. Such enemies to God must expect no 
common judgment from the justice of the Most High, 
whatsoever countries they may inhabit. 

Where men are unmerciful to their own species, no 
wonder that they have no feeling for the beasts that 
perish. Hiring out horses, &c, for pleasure or business, 
going on journeys, paying worldly visits, or taking jaunts 
on the Lord's day, are breaches of this law. Doth God 
care for oxen ? Yes, and he mentions them with ten- 
derness, that thine ox and thine ass may rest ; how 
criminal to employ the labouring cattle on the sabbath, 
as well as on the other days of the week ! In stage- 
coaches, and on canals, horses are in continual labour. 
In general there is no sabbath observed by the proprietors 
of those vehicles. Yet, so tender and scrupulous are 
some proprietors, that they would not on any account 
do any of these things themselves ; but they can be share- 
holders in stage-coaches, wagons, canal boats, &c, &c, 
where the sabbath is constantly profaned, and from 
which they derive an annual profit ! Good souls ! ye 
would not do these things yourselves, you only hire 
other persons to do them, and you live by the profit ! 
Take heed that you enter all these things punctually in 
your ledger, for the day is at hand in which you must 
render a strict account. More cattle are destroyed in 

414 THE ten commandments; 

England than in any other part of the world in propor- 
tion, by continual labour. The noble horse, in general, 
has no sabbath. Does God look on this with an in- 
different eye ? Surely he does not. " England," said a 
foreigner, " is the paradise of women, the purgatory of 
servants, and the hell of horses." 

On this head, I conclude with, Reader, remember that 
thou keep holy the sabbath-day — Thou needest the rest 
of it for thy body ; and the religious ordinances of it 
for thy soul. God has hallowed it for these purposes : 
Observe it as thou oughtest, and it will bring health to 
thy body, and peace to thy mind. So be it ! Amen. 


Against Disrespect and Disobedience to Parents. 

" Honour thy Father and thy Mother, that thy days 
may be long upon the land," &c, ver. 12. 

Hear, ye children : — God has given us only ten com- 
mandments, essentially necessary to our happiness in our 
religious, civil, and domestic life ; and one of the ten 
speaks of, and strongly recommends, obedience to parents. 
Nature and common sense teach us that there is a de- 
gree of affectionate respect which is owing to parents, 
and which no other persons can properly claim. For a 
considerable time, parents stand, in some sort, in the 
place of God to their children ; and therefore rebellion 
against their lawful commands, has been considered as 
rebellion against God. This precept, therefore, prohibits 
not only all injurious acts, irreverent and unkind speeches 
to parents; but enjoins all necessary acts of kindness, 
filial respect, and obedience. 

"We can scarcely suppose that man honours his parents 
who, when they fall weak, blind, or sick, does not exert 
himself to the uttermost in their support. In such cases 
God as truly requires the children to provide for their 


parents, as lie required the parents to feed, nourish, in- 
struct, support, and defend the children, when they were 
in the lowest state of helpless infancy. " Honour the 
Lord with thy substance," gays Solomon, Prov. iii. 9. On 
this the rabbins say, " Honour also thy father and mo- 
ther :" the Lord is to be thus honoured, if thou have it: 
thy father and another, whether thou have it or not ; for, 
if thou have nothing, thou art bound to beg for them. 
Nor will the Lord have that given to religious uses 
which the parents need. Our Lord has exposed and 
deeply condemned this conduct. See Matt. xv. 5 — 9, 
Mark vii. 10—13. 

All the reasonable commands of parents, children, 
while they are under their jurisdiction, should punctually 
obey. And even in cases where parents have no right 
to command (as in matters of religion, which refer only 
to God and the conscience, and in the choice of partners 
for life, in which the parties themselves are alone in- 
terested, because they are to dwell together for life), 
their counsel and advice should be respectfully sought, 
as their age and experience often enable them to speak 
oracularly on such a subject. But if the parents and 
children live in a state of peace and good understanding 
together, they will seldom disoblige each other in mat- 
ters of this kind. 

Children hate death and love life — they hope for many 
days, and the hope of happiness seems to smile continu- 
ally on them. To this feeling God addresses himself: 
" Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may 
be long upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth 
thee." Thi3, as the apostle observes, Eph. vi. 2, is the 
first commandment to which God has annexed a pro- 
mise, and therefore we may learn, in some measure, how 
important the duty is in his sight. In Deut. v. 16, it 
is added by the same Spirit, " That it may go well with 

VOL. I. T 



thee :" we may therefore conclude, that it will go ill with 
the disobedient : and there is little room to doubt, that 
the untimely deaths of many young persons were the 
judicial consequences of their disobedience to their pa- 
rents. Most who come to an untimely end, are obliged 
to confess that this, with the breach of the sabbath, were 
the principal causes of their ruin. Reader, art thou 
guilty? Humble thyself therefore, before God, and 

1. As children are bound to succour their parents, so 
parents are bound to educate and instruct their children 
in all useful and necessary knowledge; and not bring 
them up either in ignorance or idleness. 

2. They should teach them the fear and knowledge 
of God : for how can parents expect affection or dutiful 
respect from those who have not the fear of God before 
their eyes ? Those who are the best educated, are gene- 
rally the most affectionate and obedient. 


Against Murder and Cruelty. 

" Thou shalt not kill," ver. 13. 

God is the Fountain and Author of life — no creature 
can give life to another : an archangel cannot give life 
to an' angel ; an angel cannot give life to man ; man 
cannot give life even to the meanest of the brute crea- 
tion. As God alone gives life, so he alone has a right 
to take it away : and he who, without the authority of 
God, takes away life, is properly a murderer. This com- 
mandment, which is general, prohibits murder of every 
kind : — 

1. All actions by which the life of our fellow-crea- 
tures may be suddenly taken away, or abridged. 

2. All wars for extending empire, commerce, &c. 

3. All sanguinary laws, by the operation of which the 

A DISCOURSE ON EXOD. XX. 1 — 17. 4.1 7 

lives of men may be taken away for offences of compara- 
tively trifling demerit. 

4. All bad dispositions, which lead men to wish evil 
to, or meditate mischief against, each other; for the 
Scripture says, " He that hateth his brother in his heart, 
is a murderer." 

5. All want of charity and humanity to the helpless and 
distressed ; for he who has it in his power to save the 
life of another, by a timely application of succour, food, 
raiment, medicine, &c, and does' not do it, and the life 
of the person either falls or is abridged on this account, 
he is in the sight of God a murderer. He who neglects 
to save life is, according to an incontrovertible maxim 
in law, the same as he who takes it away. 

6. All who, by immoderate and superstitious fastings, 
macerations of the body, and wilful neglect of health, 
destroy or abridge life, are murderers ; whatever a false 
religion and ignorant superstitious priests may say of 
them. God will not have murder for sacrifice. 

7- All duellists are murderers — almost the worst of 
murderers ; each meets the other with the design of kill- 
ing him. He who shoots his antagonist dead is a mur- 
derer ; he who is shot is a murderer also. The survivor 
should be hanged ; the slain should be buried at a cross 
way, and the hanged murderer laid by his side. 

8. All who put an end to their own lives by hemp, 
steel, pistol, poison, drowning, &c, are murderers — what- 
ever coroners' inquests may say of them ; unless it be 
clearly proved that the deceased was radically insane. 

9. All who are addicted to riot and excess, to drunk- 
enness and gluttony, to extravagant pleasures, to inac- 
tivity and slothfulness — in short and in sum, all who are 
influenced by indolence, intemperance, and disorderly 
passions, by which life is prostrated and abridged, are 
murderers; for our blessed Lord, who has given us a 



new edition of this commandment, Matt. xix. 18, pro- 
poses it thus : " Thou shalt do no murder," — no kind 01 
species of murder ; and all the above are either direct 
or consequent murders ; and his beloved disciple has 
assured us, that " no murderer hath eternal life abiding 
him," 1 John iii. 15. 

10. A man who is full of fierce and furious passions, 
who has no command of his own temper, may in a mo- 
ment destroy the life even of his friend, his wife, or his 
child. All such fell and ferocious men are murderers ; 
they ever carry about with them the murderous pro- 
pensity, and are not praying to God to subdue and de- 
stroy it. 


Against Adultery, Fornication, and Uncleanness. 

" Thou shalt not commit adultery," ver. 14. 

The word adultery, adulterium, has probably been de- 
rived or contracted from ad altering thorum, " to another's 
bed;" for it is going to the bed of another man, that 
constitutes the act and the crime. Perhaps the deriva- 
tion may be yet more simple, ad alteram, to another 
woman ; and she known to be the wife of another man. 
Adultery, as defined by our laws, is of two kinds: 
double, when between two married persons ; single, when 
one of the parties is single, the other married. 

One principal part of the criminality of adultery con- 
sists in its injustice : 1. It robs a man of his right, by 
depriving him of the affection of his wife. 2. It does 
him a wrong, by fathering on him, and obliging him to 
maintain as his own, a spurious offspring, a child which 
is not his. 

The act itself, and everything leading to the act, is 
prohibited by this commandment ; for our Lord says, 
even " he who looks on a woman to lust after her, has 

A DISCOURSE ON EXOD. XX. 1 — 1/. 419 

already committed adultery with her in his heart." For 
to such there is only time and place wanting, if the other 
party be willing, to complete the crime. And not only 
adultery is forbidden here, but fornication also ; as we 
may gather from our Lord's words, Matt. xv. 19, where, 
producing the commandments in order, he gives a word 
for each ; but when he comes to the seventh, he gives 
two words to express its sense : " For out of the heart pro- 
ceed evil thoughts, murders, fioixuai, ■koqvuui, adulteries, 
fornications, thefts, false-witness, blasphemies ;" thus 
showing that fornication was included under adultery, in 
the seventh commandment. 

Under this same prohibition, all impure books, songs, 
paintings, &c, which tend to inflame and debauch the 
mind, are included. And so is that crime not proper to 
be named, and more disgraceful, and in the sight of 
God and reason more abominable, than all the rest ; and 
against which our laws are so severe, and the public 
odium more signally excited. I need not spend any 
time on the fact, that both adultery and fornication often 
mean idolatry in the worship of God. The reason of 
this, see in the beginning of this discourse. 


Against Stealing and Dishonesty. 

"Thou shalt not steal," ver. 15. 

Thou shalt not take what is not thy own, and apply it 
to thy own use. All rapine and theft are forbidden by 
this precept ; as well national and commercial wrongs, 
as petty larceny, highway-robberies, house-breaking, pri- 
vate stealing, knavery, cheating, and defrauds of every 
kind. Also, the taking advantage of a buyer's or seller s 
ignorance, to give the one less, and make the other pay 
more, for a commodity than it is worth, is a breach of 

420 THE ten commandments; 

this sacred law. All withholding of rights, and doing of 
wrongs, are against the spirit of it. 

But the word is principally applicable to clandestine 
stealing, though it may undoubtedly include all political 
injustice and private wrongs ; and, consequently, all 
kidnapping, crimping, and slave-dealing are prohibited 
here, whether practised by individuals, the state, or its 
colonies. I greatly doubt whether the Impress Service 
stands clear here. Crimes are not lessened in their de- 
merit by the number or political importance of those who 
commit them : a state that enacts bad laws is as crimi- 
nal before God as the individual who breaks good ones. 

It has been generally granted, that under the eighth 
commandment injuries done to character, the depriving 
a man of his reputation or good name, are included. 
Of a worse robbery than this, no knave can be guilty ; 
and a greater loss no honest man can sustain : hence the 
correct and nervous saying of one of our best poets, 
which never suifers by being frequently quoted : 

Good name in man or woman, dear my lord, 

Is the immediate jewel of their souls : 

Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing' ; 

'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands : 

But he that filches from me my good name, 

Robs me of that which not enriches him, 

And makes me poor indeed. 

But among all thieves and knaves, he is the most exe- 
crable who endeavours to rob another of his character. 
that he may enhance his own ; lessening his neighbour, 
that he may aggrandize himself. This is that pest of 
society, who is full of kind assertions tagged with bats. 
"He is a good kind of man; but — every bean has its 
black." " Such a one is very friendly ; but — it is in his 
own way." '• Aly neighbour N. can be very liberal ; but 


— you must catch him in the humour." Persons like 
these speak well of their neighbours, merely that they 
may have the opportunity to neutralize all their com- 
mendations, and make them suspected whose character 
stood deservedly fair, before the traducer began to pilfer 
his property. He who repents not for these injuries, and 
does not make restitution, if possible, to his defrauded 
neighbour, will hear, when God comes to take away his 
soul, these words, more terrible than the knell of death : 
" Thou shalt not steal!" See under the ninth command- 
ment ; and see Sermon XXI., on Ps. xv. 


Against False Testimony, Perjury, hying, and Deceit. 

" Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neigh- 
bour," ver. 16. 

Though the word njn raali signifies to feed or nourish, 
and is used to express a friend, even one who is pecu- 
liarly intimate; yet it often means any person living 
nigh to another, one of the same village, an acquaint- 
ance. Here it signifies any person, any human being, 
a fellow-creature, whether he rank among our enemies 
or our friends, whether he be near or far off. 

Not only false oaths, to deprive a man of his life or of 
his right, are here prohibited, but also all whispering, 
tale-bearing, calumny, and slander, where the object is 
to bring the neighbour to pain, loss, or punishment. In 
a word, whatever is deposed as a truth, which is false in 
fact, and tends to injure another in his body, goods, or 
influence, is against the spirit and letter of this law. 
Suppressing the truth when known, by which conceal- 
ment a man may be defrauded of his property or his 
good name, or lie under injuries or disabilities which a 
discovery of the truth would have prevented, is also a 
crime under this law. The conduct of every liar and 


deceiver comes under the ban of this commandment. 
The liar is always pretending to bear witness to the 
truth, and yet his testimony is false. A liar, who is 
known to be such, is detested of men ; a liar is always 
known to be such by the Searcher of hearts, and by him 
is held in sovereign abhorrence. He who bears a false 
testimony against even the devil himself, comes under 
the curse of this law, because his testimony is false. 
God is the punisher of falsehood, though his enemy be 
its object. 


Against Covetousness. 

"Thou shalt not covet, -ronn Kb lo tachemod, ver. 17-" 
The word -ran chamad signifies an earnest and strong 
desire after a matter, on which all the affections are con- 
centrated and fixed, whether the thing be good or bad. 
This is what we commonly term covetousness, which word 
is taken both in a good and bad sense. So, though the 
Scripture says that covetousness is idolatry; yet it also 
says, Covet earnestly the lest things ; thus we find that this 
disposition is sinful or holy, according to the object on 
which it is fixed. In this command, the covetousness 
which is placed on forbidden objects is that which is 
prohibited and condemned. To covet in this sense is 
intensely to long after, in order to enjoy the property, 
person, or thing coveted. He breaks this command 
who by any means endeavours to deprive a man of his 
house or farm by some underhand and clandestine bar- 
gain with the original landlord ; what is called, in some 
countries, "taking a man's house and farm over his 
head." He breaks it also who lusts after his neighbour's 
wife, and endeavours to ingratiate himself into her affec- 
tions, by striving to lessen her husband in her esteem ; 
and he also breaks it who endeavours to possess himself 

A DISCOURSE ON T2X0D. XX. 1 If. 423 

of the servants, cattle, &c, of another, m any clandes- 
tine or unjustifiable manner. This is a most excellent 
moral precept, the observance of which will prevent all 
public crimes ; for he who feels the force of the law 
which prohibits the inordinate desire of anything that is 
the property of another, can never make a breach in the 
peace of society by any act of wrong to any of even its 
feeblest members. 

Before I conclude, I feel obliged once more to repre- 
hend the bad faith of the church of Rome. "We have 
already seen that this church has in effect struck out the 
second commandment, relative to image worship; that 
she might have nothing in the Bible which might directly 
testify against her idolatry ; and this fearful liberty she 
has taken in opposition to the original Hebrew, all the 
ancient and modern Versions, her own accredited Ver- 
sions — the Septuagint and the Vulgate ; and against the 
judgment and usage of every other Christian church on 
the face of the earth, all of which consider it as a sepa- 
rate commandment. To colour this deceit, knowing that 
God had given ten commandments, and that himself 
had expressly named this number, Deut. iv. 13, this 
church, after having disposed of the second, by joining 
it to the first, in order to keep up the number ten, di- 
vided the tenth commandment into two, against all 
Scripture, reason, and common sense : for the tenth com- 
mandment contains only one subject, and that abso- 
lutely indivisible ; it is against covetousness, and against 
that only, as even a child may discern. This command'- 
ment, divided into two, makes the ninth and tenth of 
the church of Rome, thus : 

Commandment IX. : " Thou shalt not covet thy neigh- 
bour's wife." 

Commandment X. : " Thou shalt not covet his house, 
t 3 

424 the ten commandments; 

nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, 
nor his ass, nor any thing that belongs to him." 

This division is without a difference; for it is the 
same principle that covets the man-servant, the maid- 
servant, the ox, the ass, or any thing that is his, as that 
which covets the neighbour's wife, -as she is most evi- 
dently included among the any things that are his. In 
vindication of this division it has been stated, that it is 
thus divided in the Hebrew text. It is true that in some 
of the Masoretic Bibles there is sometimes the space of 
a letter after the words iin hb>n isheth reeca, " Thy neigh- 
bour's wife :" but this is no authority to make two com- 
mandments out of one ; and were we to consider such a 
space as authority to divide a commandment, we might 
make three or four different commandments out of the 
fourth, for so many divisions it has in almost all Hebrew 
Bibles : besides, there are 239 MSS., and with them the 
Samaritan, which have been collated by Kennicott and 
De Rossi, that have no space after the above words ; and 
out of five ancient MSS. in my own collection, there are 
four which have no such space. The division is there- 
fore arbitrary and unauthorized ; and the making two 
commandments out of one is absurd in reference to the 
sense, and sinful in reference to the design. 

Having now gone over the Decalogue, and endea- 
voured to give the true meaning of each precept, it might 
be thought proper to give the sum of the whole in such 
a way as they might be easily remembered, and readily 
applied to all parts of our moral conduct. To do this 
would not be very difficult ; but to do it better than it 
has been done in the common Catechism of the Church, 
would be a task indeed. As every adult may not have 
the catechism at hand, and those who have learnt it 
when young may have unfortunately forgotten it, I shall 
transcribe it here : 


" Q. What dost thou chiefly learn by these command- 
ments ? 

" A. I learn two things : my duty towards God, and 
my duty towards my neighbour. 

" Q. What is thy duty towards God ? 

" A. To believe in him, to fear him, and to love him, 
with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my soul, 
and with all my strength ; to worship him, to give him 
thanks, to put my whole trust in him, to call upon him, 
to honour his holy name and his Avord, and to serve him 
truly all the days of my life. 

" Q. What is thy duty towards thy neighbour ? 

" A. To love him as myself, and to do to all men as I 
would they should do unto me; to love, honour, and 
succour my father and mother ; to honour and obey the 
king, and all that are put in authority under him; to 
submit myself to all my governors, teachers, spiritual 
pastors and masters ; to order myself lowly and rever- 
ently to all my betters ; to hurt nobody by word or deed ; 
to be true and just in all my dealings ; to bear no malice 
nor hatred in my heart ; to keep my hands from picking 
and stealing, and my tongue from evil-speaking, lying, 
and slandering ; to keep my body in temperance, sober- 
ness, and chastity ; not to covet or desire other men's 
goods; but to learn and labour truly to get my own 
living, and to do my duty in that state of life into which 
it shall please God to call me." 

It is no ordinary recommendation of the passages 
which I have quoted, that when the famous Doctor 
Franklin undertook to draw up a catechism upon moral 
and economical principles for the Americans, he incor- 
porated the above passages in his work, with very little 
alteration, as peculiarly excellent. 

As obedience to these commandments is so essentially 
necessary, as they came to us from and with the highest 



authority, and as the fallen spirit of man is not able 
to observe them in their letter and spirit without the 
especial help of God, I do not think that a sincere heart 
can ever find more suitable expressions to clothe its 
desires, when praying for such help from God, than are 
contained in the collect prefixed to these commandments, 
in the introduction to the Communion-service of our 
church, which I shall also subjoin : 

" Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, all 
desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid ; cleanse 
the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy holy 
Spirit; that we may perfectly love thee, and Avorthily 
magnify thy holy name, through Christ our Lord. 

And as every man must know that he has broken 
these commandments, and stands in need of God's mercy 
to pardon what is past, and his grace to help him in the 
time to come, it is with great propriety that, when the 
minister ends each Icommandment, the people cry out : 
" Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to 
keep this law !" And when the last is read, that they 
should all join with heart and voice in the following 
petition, which I most cordially recommend to all my 
readers: "Lord, have mercy upon us, and write all these 
thy laws in our hearts, we beseech thee !" We have 
broken them, and need mercy ; we must keep them, but 
shall not do it unless God incline our hearts to do it, 
and write them all upon our hearts by the finger of his 
power, as that finger wrote the originals on the tables of 
stone ! Amen, so be it, Lord Jesus !